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Behind the Headlines about Maternal Mortality

Institute for Healthcare Improvement
By Neel Shah
March 14, 2019

The prospect of starting or growing a family in the United States has become harder, costlier, and riskier today than it was a generation ago. Americans are 50 percent more likely to die in childbirth than their own mothers were. What’s changed between the last generation and this one is we’ve gotten worse at supporting moms. And the experience of motherhood has become more isolating.

It’s important to understand that maternal mortality is part of an even larger problem. There are many ways that moms across the United States suffer short of death. For every death, there are 100 major injuries. For every major injury, there are thousands — if not tens of thousands — of cases of avoidable suffering.