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Why Are US Maternal Mortality Rates on the Rise?

Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2016 Aug 5; MacDorman, et al

From 2000 to 2014, the estimated maternal mortality rate for 48 states and Washington, DC, increased, despite the United Nations Millennium Development Goal for a 75% reduction in maternal mortality by 2015. The observational study also found that the international trend was in the opposite direction. Researchers also found:

  • The estimated maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 live births) for 48 states and Washington, DC, (excluding California and Texas) increased 26.6% from 18.8 in 2000 to 23.8 in 2014.
  • California showed a declining trend, whereas Texas had a sudden increase in 2001 to 2012.
  • Analysis of measurement change suggests the US rates in the early 2000s were higher than previously reported.

The authors concluded that there is a need to intensify efforts to prevent maternal deaths and improve maternity care for US women.


MacDorman MF, Declercq E, Cabral H, Morton C. Recent increases in the US maternal mortality rate. [Published online ahead of print August 5, 2016]. Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001556.