Mothers Are Still Mortal

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The origin, background, and mechanism of operation of the Maternal Mortality Study Committee in Wisconsin is outlined. Its value as a teaching vehicle is emphasized. Trends in maternal mortality in Wisconsin and the continued decline are presented, with 45 per 100,000 live births in 1953 to 9.2 per 100,000 live-births in 1975. An appeal for standardization of terms and definitions and a continuation of these studies in each state is made. Study committees in many states are inactive. It is suggested that chairmen of maternal mortality committees and representatives meet in geographic areas comparable to Districts of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to compare trends and statistics. Hemorrhage, once considered the important cause, has decreased from 56.4% of maternal loss to a low of 12.1% in 1975. Presently, a category listed as “other causes”—that is, other than hemorrhage, sepsis, and toxemia—account for approximately 60% of deaths. This group includes anesthesia, emboli and coincidental disease involving kidneys, heart, malignancy, and diabetes. An appeal is made to continue these studies.

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