Maternal Morbidity and Mortality
The U.S. has unacceptable rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, especially when compared to other developed nations. Women in America continue to experience sickness and death throughout the perinatal period – during pregnancy, birth, and in the postpartum period.
This activity provides resources and educational stories from National Public Radio (NPR), USA Today, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), the March of Dimes, and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Please work through the activities and respond to the prompts after each section directly on this document.
Student Name: _____________________________
- NPR maternal mortality series (2017): https://www.npr.org/series/543928389/lost-mothers
o Watch To Keep Women from Dying in Childbirth, Look to California (14:07)
o Watch Focus on Infants During Childbirth Leaves U.S. Moms in Danger (12:11)
o Watch Black mothers keep dying after giving birth: Shalon Irving’s story explains why (12:11)
o Watch For every woman who dies in childbirth in the U.S., 70 more come close (10:42)
o Read Redesigning Maternal Care: OB-GYNs Are Urged to See New Mothers Sooner and More Often (4/23/2018)
o Read Nearly Dying in Childbirth: Why Preventable Complications Are Growing in the U.S. (12/22/2017)
o Watch Many Nurses Lack Knowledge of Health Risks to Mothers After Childbirth (6:54)
o Read If You Hemorrhage, Don’t Clean Up: Advice From Mothers Who Almost Died (8/3/2017)
o Read U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world (5/12/2017)
Prompt #1: Choose two of the video stories and two of the article stories that captured your attention the most. Provide a brief summary for each of the four pieces. Include your reaction, and if anything surprised you. Each commentary should be a separate paragraph, 4-5 sentences for each.
- USA Today videos and stories (2018)
Deadly Deliveries: (9 minutes)
Prompt #2: Briefly summarize Antoinette Pratsinakis, Ali Lowry and YoLanda Mention’s stories. What were their complications? What did the health care team do right? What did they do wrong?
How Hospitals Are Failing New Moms, in Graphics:
Prompt #3: Define maternal mortality. Rank the maternal mortality rate from lowest to highest for the following developed nations: U.S., Canada, Germany, Japan, France, England. Approximately how many women die in childbirth in America every year? How many suffer severe complications?
- AWHONN: Review the POST-BIRTH warning signs handout, “Save Your Life”: https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.awhonn.org/resource/resmgr/pdfs/pbws/pbwssylhandoutenglish.pdf
Go to AWHONN’s postpartum education website: https://www.awhonn.org/page/POSTBIRTH
Scroll down the page and listen to: “An Interview with a New Mother”
Prompt #4: What does the acronym POSTBIRTH stand for? How can we use this to better educate our new mothers on postpartum risks? What struck you the most from the “interview with a new mother”?
- March of Dimes – Read position statement:
Prompt #5: According to the CDC, what are “pregnancy-related deaths”? What are the top causes of maternal deaths? What is the role of the March of Dimes in efforts to reduce maternal mortality?
- Read about House Resolution (HR) 1318:
Prompt #6: What is the name of HR 1318? In your own words, summarize HR 1318. What and when was the outcome of HR 1318? Do you think this will help to reduce the problem of maternal M&M? Why?
- March of Dimes – Take this 6-question quiz to test your knowledge: https://quiz.marchofdimes.org/quiz/maternal-health-quiz/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=marchdimes&utm_content=2%20-%20Take%20this%20quiz%20You%20may%20be%20surprised%20by%20s&utm_campaign=20180913_MaternalMortality_quiz_SenderA&source=20180913_MaternalMortality_quiz_SenderA
Take a screen shot of your results and submit with this document.
- Read article: Illinois Releases First Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report
Prompt #7: What were the highlights of what the committee found? Summarize the 6 key recommendations from the report.
- Final reflection
o What reaction did you have to these resources? What was the most impactful story, article, or new information you learned? Why?
o What solutions have been suggested to address the growing problem of preventable complications? What is our responsibility, as health care professionals?
o What do you think are the barriers that nurses face which prevent the delivery of quality care and education?