Maternal Mortality

Sadly, approximately 700 women in the U.S. die every year from pregnancy-related complications—the highest maternal death rate of all developed nations. It’s estimated that 60 percent of these deaths could have been prevented.

At what stage of pregnancy do pregnancy-related deaths most commonly occur?

One-third of deaths occur during pregnancy; one-third occurs during or within one week of delivery; and one-third occurs one week to one year after delivery.

What are the major causes of pregnancy-related death?

The most common causes are heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, heavy bleeding or hemorrhage, and infection.

In which patient demographic do deaths most commonly occur?

Pregnancy-related deaths occur in African American and Indian/Alaskan native women at a rate three times higher than in Caucasian women.

What can women do to help prevent maternal mortality?

Women’s Care Florida providers work with patients to manage any chronic medical conditions prior to pregnancy. If you’re planning to become pregnant and have a chronic medical condition, you should talk with your provider to take the following steps to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

  • Try to reach your normal pre-pregnancy body weight and body mass index (BMI).
  • Get early and regular prenatal care.
  • Be aware of danger signs, and communicate these to your provider as soon as possible.
  • Plan to deliver at a hospital or birthing center that is equipped to handle emergencies.

What can health care providers and hospitals do to help prevent maternal mortality?

At Women’s Care Florida, our providers focus on providing the following care to our patients.

  • Help patients manage their chronic medical condition before, during and after pregnancy.
  • Stay up to date on the best treatments for high-risk conditions.
  • Recognize and intervene early in high-risk conditions.
  • Educate patients on warning signs so early treatment can be initiated (for example, fevers or increased bleeding).
  • Work with non-ob-gyn providers to educate them on obstetric and postpartum care.
  • Offer 24/7 services for high-risk patients.

If you have a chronic medical condition, be sure to consult your ob-gyn prior to becoming pregnant to ensure your provider can guide you through a healthy pregnancy and delivery.