CDC: More than 80% of maternal deaths are preventable 

More than 80 percent of maternal deaths between 2017 and 2019 were due to preventable causes, a report from the CDC found. 

The report, published Sept. 13, analyzed maternal mortality review committee data in 36 states for 1,018 maternal deaths between 2017 and 2019.  

"It's significant. It's staggering. It's heartbreaking," Allison Bryant, MD, an obstetrician and senior medical director for health equity at Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital and chair of the Massachusetts review committee, told USA Today Sept. 20. "It just means that we have so much work to do."

Five key findings: 

  • Of the total deaths, 839 occurred up to a year postpartum.

  • The six most frequent underlying causes of pregnancy-related death were mental health conditions, hemorrhage, cardiac and coronary conditions, infections, thrombotic embolism and cardiomyopathy.

  • Eighty-two percent of decedents lived in urban areas. 

  • Black mothers made up close to a third of deaths in the study period. 

  • More than 90 percent of Indigenous maternal deaths were preventable.

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