Becoming a parent is a challenging but rewarding moment for a new mother. Unfortunately, sometimes complications before, during or after a pregnancy can have serious and even deadly consequences.

Rise in maternal mortality

Maternal mortality is a scary prospect. Expecting mothers put their lives and the lives of their babies into doctors’ hands. While pre-existing health complications can place someone at risk, sometimes mistakes, misdiagnoses and inattentiveness made by doctors can result in tragic endings.

Since 1987, pregnancy-related deaths have nearly doubled. To combat this rise in maternal mortality, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) received a $12 million grant to address the issue.

Shocking statistics

Between 2008 and 2016, the ODH gathered information on pregnancy-related deaths in Ohio. Of the 186 deaths that took place, the statistics they uncovered revealed that:

  • 57% of recent deaths were preventable
  • Black women were nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related condition
  • Common conditions that led to death included heart disease, infections and eclampsia
  • The most deaths to occur in a year totaled to 34 deaths in 2009
  • Pregnant Ohio women died at a ratio of 14.7 per 100,000 live births

Ohio is just one of many states that will benefit from a sizeable grant, given from both the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Funding prevention efforts

The $12 million grant — $10 million from HRSA and $2.2 million from the CDC — will support prevention efforts. Over the coming five years, the ODH will use the $10 million to implement plans to reduce maternal deaths. This includes the creation of a maternal health task force.

The other $2.2 million is set aside to continue to support the Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) program, an initiative started by the CDC in 2010. The purpose of this program is to review pregnancy-related deaths and develop preventative measures for these often-preventable deaths.

Change for Ohio families

The dedication behind the organizations involved in the research, review and analysis of pregnancy-related deaths is a significant turning point. Hopefully, this $12 million grant and others will lead to a safer future for many mothers, children and families in Ohio and across the nation.