Improving Pregnancy Outcomes for African American Women
March 4, 2020
National Women’s Health Week starts each year on Mother’s Day to encourage women to make their health a priority. Take these steps to live a safer and healthier life!
Each year in the United States, about 700 women die during pregnancy or in the year after. Every pregnancy-related death is tragic, especially because most are preventable. Conditions such as weakened heart muscle, thrombotic pulmonary embolism, and high blood pressure contributed to a significantly higher proportion of pregnancy-related deaths among African American women than among white women.
To reduce disparities, multiple sectors need to work to address the factors contributing to these deaths.
Healthcare providers can:
- Help patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.
- Communicate with patients about warning signs.
- Use tools to flag warning signs early so women can receive timely treatment.
Hospitals and healthcare systems can:
- Identify and address unconscious bias in healthcare.
- Standardize coordination of care and response to emergencies.
- Improve delivery of quality prenatal and postpartum care.
- Train non-obstetric providers to consider recent pregnancy history.
States and communities can:
- Assess and coordinate delivery hospitals for risk-appropriate care.
- Support review of the causes behind every maternal death.
Women and their families:
- Know and communicate about symptoms of complications.
- Note pregnancy history any time medical care is received in the year after delivery.
To prevent pregnancy-related deaths CDC:
- Supports 25 states for the Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM) Program. This work will facilitate an understanding of the drivers of maternal mortality and complications of pregnancy and better understand the associated disparities.
- Funds 13 state perinatal quality collaboratives to improve the quality of care for mothers and their babies. Funding supports the capabilities of PQCs to improve the quality of perinatal care in their states, including efforts to reduce racial/ethnic and geographic disparities.
- Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths - United States, 2007-2016
- Vital Signs: Pregnancy Related Deaths
- Pregnancy-Related Deaths: Data from 14 U.S. Maternal Mortality Review Committees, 2008-2017
- Vital Signs: Pregnancy-Related Deaths, United States, 2011-2015 and Strategies for Prevention, 13 States, 2013-2017