As part of the 2019 legislation that reauthorized PCORI’s funding for 10 years, Congress included research on maternal morbidity as a priority topic for PCORI.

More about Maternal Morbidity and Mortality

The United States ranks lowest among high-income countries in parameters for maternal health, and 40 percent of US maternal mortality occurs during the six weeks following delivery. Significant disparities for maternal outcomes have been reported for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, rural, and low socioeconomic status populations. Although evidence-based treatments and care protocols exist for the prevention of postpartum maternal morbidity and mortality, postpartum care is typically limited, and evidence exists indicating that important warning signs may be missed or dismissed by patients, as well as clinicians and health systems.

Signs or symptoms may overlap with those of other conditions and with those of recovery from delivery. Patients and primary or emergency care clinicians also may be unaware of the importance of recent pregnancy status for the interpretation of some symptoms and may not discuss it, and patients experiencing complications in the hospital may not receive referrals to appropriate specialty care. In addition, systemic racism and bias (conscious and unconscious), affect access to and quality of care, and significant inequities persist in access to and availability of timely, appropriate, and respectful postpartum care.