Saving Women's Lives: A Data-Driven Approach to Reduce Maternal Mortality

By Rachel Mayer , Sarah Kinling , Alison Dingwall, Ph.D.

This paper outlines the current state of maternal health in the U.S., discrepancies in national maternal mortality data, and recommendations for maternal mortality data collection, analysis and reporting policies.

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The United States is the only country in the developed world to see an increase in women dying as a result of pregnancy. Our maternal mortality rate has doubled in the last two decades—the worst rate among wealthy nations and 55th among all countries when last compared in 2017. Improving maternal health data collection, analysis, and reporting is a fundamental first step toward a national commitment to reducing maternal mortality and eliminating preventable deaths.

The recommendations highlighted in this paper can guide policymakers in shaping national data standards to inform what actions and policies are needed to reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal health. With accurate and complete data, maternal health professionals and policymakers can identify national priorities to reduce maternal mortality—a data-driven approach to reverse this disturbing trend and ultimately help the U.S. become a world leader in maternal health.