The United States (U.S.) is the only high-income country where maternal mortality is on the rise. A woman living in the U.S. today is more likely to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth than her own mother was in 1990 — and more than 60% of maternal deaths in the U.S. are preventable.
Racial inequities in maternal health outcomes persist in the U.S. — Black and Native American women are two to three times more likely to die from a pregnancy or childbirth-related complication than white women. These unacceptable, unequal outcomes persist across varying levels of education and income. Systemic racism is a risk factor for poor maternal health outcomes.
for Mothers is taking a comprehensive approach to tackling the maternal health crisis in the U.S. by addressing both clinical and community factors that contribute to poor maternal health. We work with a diverse group of collaborators, including health care providers, community-based organizations, quality improvement leaders, maternal health advocates, researchers, state and national public health leaders and others with the goal of ending preventable maternal mortality in the U.S.
We are taking a comprehensive approach to tackling maternal health in the U.S. by addressing both clinical and community factors that contribute to poor maternal health.
In August 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched Hear Her, a national communication campaign that brings attention to maternal mortality and provides support to pregnant and postpartum women to speak up when something does not feel right. The Hear Her campaign illustrates how recognizing critical maternal health warning signs and speaking up can save lives, through personal stories from women who experienced severe pregnancy-related complications. Hear Her also encourages the people supporting pregnant and postpartum women — family, friends and health care providers — to take action when concerns are expressed. The multi-phased campaign is supported through a collaboration with the CDC Foundation and funding from through for Mothers.
Although awareness of maternal deaths has increased in recent years, patient voices remain under-represented in policy and quality improvement discussions. We supported the creation of MoMMA’s (Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Advocates) Voices, the first-ever maternal health patient advocacy coalition, which brings together the voices of people who have experienced childbirth complications and family members who have lost a loved one to strengthen collective efforts to educate policy makers and advocate for quality improvements in clinical practice.
The Safer Childbirth Cities initiative is our effort to reduce the racial inequities we see in maternal health outcomes and address both the health and social factors that affect a healthy pregnancy and safe childbirth. The initiative is designed to foster local solutions that help cities become safer — and more equitable — places to give birth. In collaboration with co-funders, we currently support 10 city-based coalitions across the country to implement strategies tailored to the needs of pregnant people in their city. The first group of Safer Childbirth Cities is exploring diverse approaches that bridge the community-clinic divide, including integrated models of care, doula support, surveillance systems and implicit bias training for maternity care providers.
for Mothers is supporting the March of Dimes to ensure that women remain connected to their health care providers and have continued access to critical health related information by supporting a series of webinars and creating a resource hub addressing maternal health and COVID-19. The project will also develop and pilot a curriculum for virtual postpartum care — a need beyond COVID-19 — to help women maintain connections with the health care system and with each other after giving birth, and to advance equitable access to new health care delivery technologies.