CDPH and Partners Release Statewide Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review

This week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), and the Public Health Institute (PHI) released a comprehensive statewide review of maternal deaths from 2002-2007, offering key insights to improving care and strategies to further reduce preventable maternal mortality.

The report determined that California has experienced a significant decline in maternal mortality from a high of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006 to a low of 7.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013. Key findings of the Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review include:

  • According to comprehensive data review, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths during the study period; death certificate analysis, however, showed pre-eclampsia, obstetric hemorrhage and amniotic fluid embolism as the leading causes of death
  • Racial disparities were evident in the review with African-American women dying at three-to-four times the maternal mortality rate of women of other races and ethnicities and as high as eight times the rate when deaths from pregnancy-related cardiovascular disease is considered
  • Multiple patient, facility, and health care provider factors contributed to pregnancy-related deaths, such as obesity and hypertension, delayed recognition of and response to clinical warning signs, and a lack of institutional readiness for obstetric emergencies
  • 41 percent of pregnancy-related deaths has a good-to-strong chance of preventability

The overall goal of the review was to inform and translate findings into strategies to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity. Additional information and the full review are available here.