Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Type



Health Sciences


Jacqueline Lanier

Mentor Department

Health Sciences


Maternal death or maternal mortality is defined by the World Health Organization as “death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy”. About 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day. It was estimated that in 2015, roughly 303,000 women died during and following pregnancy/childbirth (Maternal Mortality, 2018). Majority of these deaths occurred in low resource settings, and most can be prevented. Other complications may exist before pregnancy but are worsened during pregnancy, especially if not managed as part of the women’s care. Major complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are severe bleeding, sepsis, Preeclampsia/Eclampsia (high blood pressure), complications during delivery and abortions gone wrong . “Each year, an estimated 1200 women in the USA suffer complications during pregnancy or childbirth that prove fatal and 60,000 suffer complications that are near fatal- even though costs of maternity care in the USA in 2012 exceeded 60 billion United States dollars” (Maternal Mortality and Morbidity, 2015). The United States is one of, if not the most developed nation in the world. Yet, the US has the worst and highest rates of maternal mortality of the developed nations.  Only half of the states in the US have maternal death review boards and of that data collected, it is not being utilized to guide changes that the possibility of reducing mortality and morbidity (Young, 2018). According to the CDC, 60 percent of maternal deaths are preventable (Martin, 2017). This study aimed to explore the secondary data surrounding this issue and complete qualitative interviews with experts in maternal mortality to better understand why these trends are occurring and what can be done in terms of prevention.

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