About the Presentation
The death of a mother during pregnancy or post-partum is one of the greatest tragedies that can occur within a family, with wide-ranging consequences for the index child, other children, spouses, other family members, and the larger society. Maternal mortality also represents the ultimate failure of perinatal medical care. To improve ascertainment of maternal deaths a pregnancy question was added to the U.S. Standard death certificate in 2003. However, delays in states’ adoption of the new pregnancy question together with use of nonstandard pregnancy questions created a situation where, in any given data year, some states were using the U.S. standard question, others were using questions incompatible with the U.S. standard, and still others had no pregnancy question on their death certificates. Due to difficulties in disentangling these effects, the United States has not published an official maternal mortality rate since 2007. This has led to a deficit of information at a time when more attention has been focussed on maternal mortality than ever before. For example, the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 5a was to reduce the maternal mortality rate by 3/4 from 1990-2015. This presentation will analyze trends in US maternal mortality from 2000-2014, after adjustment for differences in pregnancy question formats. Differences by race and ethnicity and leading causes of maternal death will also be discussed, as well as the significant data quality and comparability issues attendant with this data system.
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