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Is Maternal Mortality on the Rise in the US?

Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2017 Apr 4; MacDorman, et al

Maternal mortality has not improved in the US and appears to be increasing, according to a recent study that examined trends by socioeconomic characteristics and cause of death in several states and the District of Columbia. The observational study compared data from 2008-2009 with 2013-2014 for 27 states and the District of Columbia that had comparable reporting of maternal mortality throughout the period. Maternal mortality rates were computed per 100,000 live births. Researchers found:

  • Study population included 1,687 maternal deaths and 7,369,966 live births.
  • The maternal mortality rate increased by 23% from 20.6 maternal deaths in 2008-2009 to 25.4 in 2013-2014.
  • The majority of the increase was among women aged ≥40 years and for nonspecific causes of death.
  • Maternal mortality rates for women aged ≥40 years increased by 90% during the study period but did not increase for women aged <40 years.


MacDorman MF, Declercq E, Thoma ME, et al. Trends in maternal mortality by sociodemographic characteristics and cause of death in 27 states and the District of Columbia. [Published online ahead of print April 4, 2017]. Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001968.