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CDC releases new report on pregnancy-related deaths

The report looks at data from Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) across 36 states between 2017 and 2019.

ATLANTA — Four out of five pregnancy-related deaths in the United States are preventable, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Monday.

The report looks at data from Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) across 36 states between 2017 and 2019.

More than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths were found to be preventable, according to CDC data. 

“The report paints a much clearer picture of pregnancy-related deaths in this country,” Director of C.D.C.’s Division of Reproductive Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Wanda Barfield said. “The majority of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable, highlighting the need for quality improvement initiatives in states, hospitals, and communities that ensure all people who are pregnant or postpartum get the right care at the right time.”

According to the report, 53% of deaths occurred between seven days to one year after pregnancy, 22% occurred during pregnancy, and 25% occurred on the day of delivery or within seven days. 

RELATED: Georgia hospital awarded grant to study maternal mortality among Black mothers

Other underlying causes of pregnancy-related death included hemorrhaging; heart conditions; infections; thrombotic embolism, cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure.

The cause of death also varied by race and ethnicity. 

The report lists that cardiac and coronary conditions were the leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths among non-Hispanic Black people. Among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white people, mental health conditions were the leading underlying cause and hemorrhage was the leading underlying cause for non-Hispanic Asian people.

This report is the first to be released under the Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality, a CDC-funded program to support agencies and organizations that manage MMRCs.

As listed in a CDC press release, MMRCs are committees that gather at the state or local level to review deaths during or within one year of pregnancy. Their goal is to understand the circumstances surrounding each death and develop recommendations for action to prevent deaths in the future.

For more information from the CDC, click here. 


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