Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Disparity & Pregnancy-Related Mortality in the US

Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2018 Mar 8; Moaddab, et al

An increased risk of maternal death among non-Hispanic black, unmarried patients with unplanned pregnancies contributes significantly to the US maternal mortality ratio, a new study found. The retrospective observational study analyzed data from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics database and the Detailed Mortality Underlying Cause of Death database from 2005 to 2014 that contains mortality and population counts for all US counties. Researchers found:

  • The increase in maternal mortality ratio in the US since 2005 was from 15 per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 21-22 per 100,000 live births in 2013 and 2014.
  • This increase in mortality was most pronounced in non-Hispanic black women, with ratios rising from 39 to 49 per 100,000 live births.
  • Cesarean deliveries, unintended births, unmarried status, percentage of deliveries to non-Hispanic black women, and ≤4 prenatal visits were significantly associated with the increased maternal mortality ratio.


Moaddab A, Dildy GA, Brown HL, et al. Health care disparity and pregnancy-related mortality in the United States, 2005-2014. [Published online ahead of print March 8, 2018]. Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002534.