A Renewed Focus on Maternal Health in the United States

New England Journal of Medicine
November 2, 2017  Vol. 377 No. 18

A Renewed Focus on Maternal Health in the United States
R.L. Molina and L.E. Pace
…Maternal mortality is usually defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within 42 days after delivery when the cause is directly or indirectly related to pregnancy. The maternal mortality ratio in the United States (28 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013) is low compared with the average ratio in low-income regions (230 deaths per 100,000 live births).2 However, it has more than doubled since 1990 (see graph). Maternal Mortality in the United States, 1990–2013.) and is higher than the maternal mortality ratio in most high-income countries; Canada, for example, had 11 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013.2 Furthermore, most high-income countries have seen maternal mortality decrease in recent years. High maternal mortality in the United States as compared with other high-income countries and the continuing upward trend highlight gaps in our care for reproductive-age women that are particularly worrisome in light of some lawmakers’ recent efforts to reduce access to health insurance and reproductive health care….