The AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) Program has commissioned evidence reports to inform next steps by clinicians, patients, policymakers, and Federal agencies on improving maternal health.
The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world. Every year, people in the United States die of pregnancy-related causes at more than double the rate of nations with similar income levels. Each year, tens of thousands of mothers experience unintended consequences of pregnancy that result in health issues, such as heart issues, hemorrhage, and seizures.
This maternal health crisis particularly impacts Black and Native American women. Black women are more than three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as White women, and Native American women are more than twice as likely, regardless of their income or education.
In December 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its vision for ensuring the United States is one of the safest countries in the world for women to give birth. This initiative was launched concurrently with the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve Maternal Health.
To support this effort, the EPC Program has commissioned the following evidence reports:
- Prenatal period
- Risk factors for Maternal Morbidity and Mortality (in progress)
- Schedule of Visits and Use of Telemedicine for Routine Antenatal Care (2022)
- Conditions affecting pregnancy and childbirth
- Respectful Maternity Care (in progress)
- Maternal and Childhood Outcomes Associated With the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) (2022)
- Maternal, Fetal, and Child Outcomes of Mental Health Treatments in Women: A Systematic Review of Perinatal Pharmacologic Interventions (2021)
- Management of Primary Headaches in Pregnancy (2020)
- Management of pregnancy-related conditions and childbirth
- Postpartum period
- Women’s reproductive health topics
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve Maternal Health.
Petersen EE, Davis NL, Goodman D, et al. Vital signs: Pregnancy-related deaths, United States, 2011–2015, and strategies for prevention, 13 states, 2013–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68:423–9. DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6818e1.
Tikkanen R, Gunja MZ, FitzGerald M, Zephyrin L. Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care in the United States Compared to 10 Other Developed Countries. Commonwealth Fund; November 18, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.26099/411v-9255.