Preventing Pregnancy-Related Deaths

New data suggests that most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable

(RxWiki News) The vast majority of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, according to new data.

That means we have lots of opportunities to better protect pregnant women and new mothers.

The new data, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), highlighted a few key areas of potential improvement in prenatal and postnatal care for mothers.

“The report paints a much clearer picture of pregnancy-related deaths in this country,” said Dr. Wanda Barfield, director of the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health, in a press release. “The majority of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable, highlighting the need for quality improvement initiatives in states, hospitals, and communities that ensure all people who are pregnant or postpartum get the right care at the right time.”

This new research, which looked at national data between 2017 and 2019, found that 22 percent of pregnancy-related deaths happened during pregnancy. Another 25 percent occurred on the day of the birth or within a week after it.

And 53 percent occurred sometime between the first week and the first year after delivery, according to the CDC.

What were the causes of these pregnancy-related deaths? The CDC reported the most common causes, in order of how prevalent they were:

  • Mental health conditions (23 percent)
  • Hemorrhage (excessive bleeding) (14 percent)
  • Heart-related conditions (13 percent)
  • Infections (9 percent)
  • Blood clots (9 percent)
  • A disease of the heart muscle called cardiomyopathy (9 percent)
  • Pregnancy-related high blood pressure conditions (7 percent)

The CDC called for broad strategies to prevent pregnancy-related deaths and said it would continue to fund research and prevention efforts in this area.

If you are concerned about potential health problems related to a pregnancy, speak with your healthcare provider.

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Review Date: 
October 3, 2022