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Seeking Solutions to the High Rate of Maternal Mortality

By Aasta Mehta, MD
Medical Officer of Reproductive Health at the Department of Public Health in Philadelphia, PA 

We know that …

  • Despite being one of the wealthiest nations globally, the United States has a disproportionately high maternal mortality rate compared to other developed countries.

We also know…

  • Maternal mortality rates in the US expose significant racial disparities. Black and Indigenous women, as well as women of color more broadly, experience significantly higher rates of maternal mortality compared to white women. This racial disparity persists regardless of income or education level, indicating systemic issues related to healthcare access, quality of care, and social determinants of health.

Yet, are you aware that…

While childbirth is often considered a joyous event, the postpartum period poses a significant risk for maternal mortality? A considerable portion of maternal deaths in the US occur within the first year after childbirth, with a significant number of deaths happening beyond the immediate postpartum period. This highlights the importance of comprehensive postpartum care with ongoing monitoring of maternal health well beyond delivery.

What can be done about this critical issue?

Many maternal deaths in the US are deemed preventable, often stemming from factors such as inadequate access to healthcare, delayed or substandard prenatal and postpartum care, chronic health conditions exacerbated during pregnancy, and complications arising from childbirth. Addressing these underlying causes requires systemic changes in healthcare delivery, improved access to prenatal and postpartum care, better management of chronic conditions, and efforts to address social determinants of health, including poverty, racism, and discrimination.

Dive into the critical issue of Maternal Mortality in the United States with our focused hot topic session. We will clarify the key definitions to lay the groundwork, then examine the latest national data to uncover the reality behind the statistics. This workshop is not just about understanding numbers; it is about identifying actionable insights and strategies for improving maternal health outcomes.

Are you committed to making a difference in public health and maternal mortality?

Aasta Mehta, MD, MPP

Join us at AMWA 2024 — Thriving, Leading, Transforming: Securing Your Future in the Changing Landscape of Medicine — to learn how we can turn data into meaningful action on March 22 at 3:30 pm ET at the Preventive Women’s Health session 2 of the Clinical Hot Topics.  Join us to consider one Public Health Approach to Improving Outcomes of Maternal Mortality. This session is an opportunity to contribute ideas to help save lives, especially as woman in medicine.


Jodi Godfrey

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