Reversing the trend of maternal mortality rates in California

Pregnant mother

Reports that women in the United States die in childbirth at much higher rates than in other developed countries are enough to make any expectant mom nervous.

But as recently reported by NPR, thanks to work being done at the Stanford-based California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, experts are reversing that frightening trend.

A Stanford Medicine Scope blog highlighted the NPR story and cited its past reporting on the collaborative’s approach:

“CMQCC has developed standardized, evidence-based emergency response toolkits for obstetric hemorrhage, preeclampsia, maternal venous thromboembolism, reduction of cesarean sections for first-time mothers, and complications arising from the intersection of pregnancy and heart disease. They’ve also published guidelines for reducing elective deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy.”

In the NPR report, Elliott Main, MD, the collaborative’s medical director, explains how his team identified and changed the approach to preventable maternal deaths. And how ultimately, in evaluating the impact of implementing standardized approaches prescribed in the emergency response toolkits, California saw the maternal mortality rate reduced 55 percent between 2006 and 2013.

Word has been spreading about what California is doing. Earlier this year, comedian and television host, Samantha Bee featured the issue of maternal mortality in a lengthy segment on her show, Full Frontal, in which she highlighted the California Collaborative’s work as a silver lining in the otherwise grim maternal death rates reported throughout the country.

NPR reported that as of June 2018, 88 percent of California’s birthing hospitals have implemented the toolkits, covering 95 percent of all the births in the state.

Learn more about quality care initiatives for mothers and babies at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health.

Photo by: Heather Mount


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