CDC: Majority of Pregnancy-Related Deaths Are Preventable
Roughly 3 in 5 pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, according to an analysis by the CDC.
In order to improve the understanding of pregnancy-related death, which occurs in approximately 700 women in the US annually, the CDC conducted an analysis of data from the Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System for 2011-2015. Deaths were considered to be pregnancy-related if they were caused by a pregnancy complication, events initiated by pregnancy, or the aggravation of unrelated conditions by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.
Pregnancy-related mortality ratios (PRMR) were calculated by race/ethnicity, marital status, education, and year.
Overall, the PRMR was 17.2 per 100,000 live births. PRMRs were highest among non-Hispanic black women and American Indian/Alaska Native women (42.8 and 32.5, respectively), which were 3.3 and 2.5 times as high as the PRMR for non-Hispanic white women (13.0), respectively.
Among the 87.7% of pregnancy-related deaths for which timing of death was known, 31.3% occurred during pregnancy, 16.9% occurred on the day of delivery, 18.6% occurred 1 to 6 days postpartum, 21.4% occurred 7 to 42 days postpartum, and 11.7% occurred 43 to 365 days postpartum.
Leading causes of death included cardiovascular conditions, infection, and hemorrhage, and approximately 60% of the deaths were considered preventable.
“Most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, demonstrating the need to identify and implement strategies to address the multiple contributing factors,” they concluded.
Petersen EE, Davis NL, Goodman D, et al. Vital Signs: pregnancy-related deaths, United States, 2011–2015, and strategies for prevention, 13 states, 2013–2017 [published online May 7, 2019]. MMWR. http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6818e1.