Maternal Morbidity & Mortality in AZ to be Examined

The US has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country.  Sadly, it’s getting worse each year.  About 800 American women die and 65,000 almost die during pregnancy or childbirth. The number of deaths in AZ jumped from around 10 in 2015 to about 30 in 2016 (the last year for which ADHS has data posted- the numbers are cell-suppressed to protect confidentiality). 

Nationally, back women die from pregnancy-related causes at three to four times the rate of white women, even after controlling for social determinants. Women in rural areas also have higher maternal mortality rates than urban women.  Here’s a story that highlights some of the issues in an easy to read way.

Evidence-based policy making is a key.  Twenty-nine states (including Arizona) have committees that review maternal deaths and make public policy recommendations.  Arizona took a big step forward this last legislative session with the passage of SB 1040 Maternal Mortality Report which will establish an Advisory Committee on Maternal Fatalities and Morbidity.

It requires ADHS and the Committee to hold a public hearing to receive public input regarding the recommended improvements to information collection concerning the incidence and causes of maternal fatalities and severe maternal morbidity and complete a report (including recommendations) by the end of this year.