SETTING NEW STANDARDS TO COMBAT RISING MATERNAL MORTALITY RATES IN THE UNITED STATES

Maternal mortality is on the rise in the United States (U.S.), even as it declines globally. In fact, the U.S. is one of very few wealthy countries where the problem is getting worse, ranking 46th worldwide. For every woman who dies, there are even more who experience a “near-miss,” or complications that often have a life-long impact on their health.

Why is this happening?

The leading causes of maternal death in the U.S. include excessive bleeding (hemorrhage), blood clots (embolism), and high blood pressure (hypertension). However, not all hospitals are using evidence-based, nationally recognized approaches to prevent and treat these childbirth emergencies. Without standardized guidelines, it is difficult to ensure consistent, high-quality care.

How do we help hospitals provide evidenced-based care?

Our partners – American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District II, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), and the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) – implemented standardized, evidence-based tools called “safety bundles” to make sure birthing units are prepared to manage emergencies. By training, mentoring, and providing the right resources to obstetricians, midwives, and nurses, we can help save more women’s lives.