A new CDC analysis based on 2017-2019 data from Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs), found more than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable. MMRCs are representatives of diverse clinical and non-clinical backgrounds who review the circumstances around pregnancy-related deaths to identify recommendations to prevent future deaths.
Among pregnancy-related deaths with information on timing, 22% of deaths occurred during pregnancy, 25% occurred on the day of delivery or within 7 days after, and 53% occurred between 7 days to 1 year after pregnancy.
The leading underlying causes of pregnancy-related death include:
- Mental health conditions (including deaths to suicide and overdose/poisoning related to substance use disorder) (23%)
- Excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) (14%)
- Cardiac and coronary conditions (relating to the heart) (13%)
- Infection (9%)
- Thrombotic embolism (a type of blood clot) (9%)
- Cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle) (9%)
- Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (relating to high blood pressure) (7%)
The leading underlying cause of death varied by race and ethnicity. Cardiac and coronary conditions were the leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths among non-Hispanic Black people, mental health conditions were the leading underlying cause for Hispanic and non-Hispanic White people, and hemorrhage was the leading underlying cause for non-Hispanic Asian people.
- Pregnancy-Related Deaths: Data from Maternal Mortality Review Committees in 36 US States, 2017–2019. CDC. September 19 2022.