Eliminating Preventable Maternal Deaths in the United States: Progress Made and Next Steps

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Abstract

The crisis of a rising maternal mortality ratio in the United States continues to receive attention in both the scientific literature and the lay press. To continue to make progress in preventing these deaths, we must celebrate our successes and clearly delineate the next steps. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program, Building U.S. Capacity to Review and Prevent Maternal Deaths, recently published a report from nine maternal mortality review committees, which accomplishes just that. The report is a collaborative effort from maternal mortality review committees demonstrating the capacity to do three important tasks: 1) collect data in a standardized fashion across maternal mortality review committees throughout the United States, 2) assess preventability of maternal deaths by consensus from experts on multidisciplinary state committees, and 3) create recommendations based on maternal death review with far-reaching effect. Next steps involve expansion of this standardized process to maternal mortality review committees in every state and translation of those recommendations into state-specific action through the use of local resources such as state perinatal quality care collaboratives. This commentary summarizes the content of the report from nine maternal mortality review committees.

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