Maternal Morbidity and Mortality


Each year, more than 50,000 women in the United States experience severe maternal morbidity (SMM), or unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


More than 700 women in the United States die annually as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications out of approximately four million births each year. (US Health Resources & Services Administration)


PCORI has awarded more than $150 million to fund more than 70 research and engagement projects to address maternal mortality. (As of July 2022)

PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs)

View open and previous PFAs for research studies focused on, or related to maternal health and maternal healthcare.

2022 PCORI Annual Meeting Breakout Session Spotlight

Spotlights: Ongoing Studies and Projects

Blog: Improving Maternal Health Through Engagement

Did you know cardiovascular disease is a high-risk factor for pregnant women? As we mark Women's Health Month in May, read about two PCORI-funded Engagement Award project teams that are engaging a range of voices to better understand how cardiovascular disease impacts maternal health.

Read Blog

Telehealth Strategies for the Delivery of Maternal Health Care: A Rapid Review

PCORI commissioned a rapid review to assess evidence on the effectiveness of telehealth strategies for the delivery of maternal healthcare. Because telemedicine has experienced a swift and widespread adoption in the United States, PCORI sought to understand the evidence base on a compressed timeline in order to inform our future research investments.

The evidence synthesized in this rapid review indicates that telehealth for maternal health care delivery is a promising alternative and/or supplement to usual, in-person care. Equally important are the evidence gaps identified in this review that point us to future research priorities. Full results of this rapid review are also available in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

View Rapid Review Report Read Related Blog

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions

Testing the Effectiveness of Adding Group Therapy to Home Visiting Services on Reducing Postpartum Depression in Women with Low Incomes: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Adding a group therapy program called Mothers and Babies to home visiting services did not reduce depressive symptoms in perinatal women more than home visiting services alone, according to this PCORI-funded research study.

However, group therapy led by a community health worker was comparably effective as group therapy led by a mental health professional in reducing depressive symptoms. The study included 824 perinatal women enrolled in 37 home visiting programs in seven midwestern states. The trial results were published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health in March 2021.

Read more about the study in this PCORI Story and watch a video interview with Darius Tandon, the study’s Principal Investigator, in which he shares more about his study and reasons why women are not receiving care for postpartum depression.

Can an Online Program Help Women with a History of Preeclampsia Reduce Their Risk of Heart Disease? A Randomized Controlled Trial

Health 4 Moms, an online intervention designed for and by women with a history of preeclampsia to improve healthy lifestyle choices improved patients’ knowledge of heart disease risk, self-efficacy to achieve a healthy diet, and reduced physical inactivity among women with recent preeclampsia, according to this PCORI-funded research study.

The study enrolled 151 mothers nationwide with recent preeclampsia. The trial results were published in the Journal of Women's Health in July 2019.

Stakeholder Meetings/Events

PCORI Systematic Reviews Related to Maternal Health

PCORI has commissioned several reviews through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) with the goal to produce up-to-date, actionable evidence to inform important healthcare choices.

Congress Identifies Maternal Morbidity and Mortality as Research Priority

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

The Intersection of Cardiovascular Disease and Maternal Morbidity

Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH, shares PCORI’s focus on maternal morbidity and mortality at the intersection of cardiovascular disease and reaffirms PCORI’s commitment to funding actionable projects to improve patient outcomes and reduce cardiovascular complications of pregnancy and maternal mortality in the United States.


The Intersection of Cardiovascular Disease and Maternal Morbidity

Additional Videos

Overview of PCORI's Work on Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality -- Board of Governors Meeting (March 8, 2022)

2021 PCORI Virtual Annual Meeting Breakout Session: Awareness and Opportunity -- Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement for Equitable Maternal Health Outcomes