Maternal Mortality Statistics You Should Know

A baby holding its parent's finger.

Maternal mortality is an issue that affects many countries and families worldwide. While maternal mortality is a devastating occurrence, understanding contributing factors is key to identifying and preventing maternal deaths moving forward. Here are definitions and statistics that you should know.

Maternal Mortality and Pregnancy-Related Death refer to the death of a woman due to complications during pregnancy, childbirth, or one year postpartum.

Pregnancy-Related Mortality Ratio (PRMR) refers to the number of pregnancy-related deaths, typically per 100,000 live births. PRMR helps researchers understand how many deaths are potentially preventable with improved access to quality healthcare during and after childbirth.

Statistics You Should Know

The Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System (PMSS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the following statistics over a 2-year period:

Top Causes of Maternal Mortality

The top ten causes of maternal mortality are as follows:

  1. Cardiovascular Conditions
  2. Infection of Sepsis
  3. Cardiomyopathy
  4. Miscellaneous Noncardiovascular Medical Conditions
  5. Hemorrhage
  6. Thrombotic Pulmonary or Other Embolism
  7. Cerebrovascular Accidents
  8. Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy
  9. Amniotic Fluid Embolism
  10. Anesthesia Complications

Factors that Impact PRMR

Unfortunately, birth-related medical malpractice and discriminatory care play a significant role in the quality of healthcare women get across the country and around the world. To learn more about the impact of these factors, we recommend the following resources:

Your Guide to Birth-Related Malpractice

What is Discriminatory Care?

Maternal Factors that Impact PRMR

When comparing PRMR statistics across various demographics, two maternal characteristics – race and age – have shown to have the largest impact on PRMR, a clear testament to the existence and harm of discriminatory practices.

How Race Impacts PRMR

The PRMRs across different races were as follows:

  • 41.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic Black persons.
  • 26.5 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons.
  • 14.1 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander persons.
  • 13.7 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic White persons.
  • 11.2 deaths per 100,000 live births for Hispanic persons.

How Age Impacts PRMR

According to data from the CDC, in 2020, the following PRMRs across different age groups were as follows:

  • 13.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for mothers under 25.
  • 22.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for mothers between 25 and 39.
  • 107.9 deaths per 100,000 live births for mothers aged 40 and over.

Common Maternal Complications

Maternal complications are health issues that can arise during pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum. According to the CDC, common maternal complications that arise during pregnancy are as follows:

  • Anemia
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Mental Health Conditions
  • Hypertension
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Obesity and Weight Gain
  • Infections
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Related Reading

What is Medical Malpractice?

Your Guide to Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Mexico

Maternal mortality should never be taken lightly; every mother deserves access to safe healthcare services throughout her pregnancy journey. Understanding what factors impact maternal mortality and PRMR is key in helping prevent unnecessary deaths associated with pregnancies.

If you or a loved one suffered complications during pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum due to medical error or negligence, having an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side can make a significant difference in taking steps forward toward healing.

The compassionate team of attorneys at Curtis & Co. have decades' worth of experience fighting for justice and helping families through heartbreaking times. Let us assist by offering a free case review — providing an opportunity to better understand your legal rights and potential options that can be taken going forward, no matter where in New Mexico you are located.

Schedule a free consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys today by calling (505) 871-3740 or by reaching us online.

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