Mental health conditions consider significant factor in pregnancy-related deaths nationwide

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Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 1:45 PM CDT
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(WSAW) - The state of Wisconsin has contributed data to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding pregnancy-related deaths.

The data shows four in five pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable. The goal is to use the information for interventions that can save lives and reduce health disparities.

The data contributed is from the years 2017-2019.

Among deaths for which timing in relation to pregnancy is known, approximately 22% of deaths occurred during pregnancy, 25% occurred on the day of delivery or within a week after delivery, 23% occurred from 7 to 42 days postpartum, and 30% occurred in the late postpartum period which includes up to a year after birth.

Among the 1,018 pregnancy-related deaths, an underlying cause of death was identified for 987 deaths. The six most frequent underlying causes of pregnancy-related death — mental health conditions (22.7%), hemorrhage (13.7%), cardiac and coronary conditions (12.8%), infection (9.2%), thrombotic embolism (8.7%), and cardiomyopathy (8.5%) — accounted for over 75% of pregnancy-related deaths.

Among the 1,018 pregnancy-related deaths, a preventability determination was made for 996 deaths.  Among these, 839 (84%) were determined to be preventable. A death is considered preventable if the committee determines that there was at least some chance of the death being averted by one or more reasonable changes to patient, community, provider, facility, and/or systems factors.

Click here for more information on Wisconsin-specific data.