A National Conversation on Maternal Mortality

Every day in the United States, two or three women die from pregnancy-related causes.  The maternal mortality rate has remained stagnant in the past 30 years, and is now increasing.  Therefore, the National Perinatal Association (NPA) hosted a one-day summit in October, 2012 to begin a national conversation about the factors that contribute to maternal mortality and deaths in the perinatal period, and how stakeholders can address these factors on a national, state and regional level. This experience helped to shape the format of A National Conversation about Maternal Mortality.




A number of states and localities have published results from maternal mortality review efforts. Alaska, Maryland, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York City and Virginia have all published the findings of enhanced surveillance to examine the factors contributing to maternal mortality. A few commonalties emerge from these reports.  

  • The presence of a chronic disease dramatically increases the risk of a woman dying in the perinatal period. This requires the commitment of other health and human service providers who are providing care and services for women before they become pregnant.  
  • The dramatic and persistent presence of racial disparities. The causes of such disparities are an area that need close examination in order to determine possible etiologies that may be amenable to healthcare intervention.

The NPA gathered investigators from the national, state, and local levels, as well as other stakeholders in order to review the existing data and formulate such strategies. Currently, there are no strategies that engage stakeholders in a multidisciplinary manner.   

The University of South Florida was instrumental in helping to organize this summit and compile the final report. Additional support came from the March of Dimes, the National Perinatal Foundation.


COMING SOON: A National Conversation on Maternal Mortality and Pregnancy (revised)

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