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New DOH report finds 78% of pregnancy-related deaths in 2018 were preventable

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) released a report on Wednesday that found 78% of pregnancy-related deaths in 2018 could have been prevented.

This week’s report is the first released by the state DOH’s Maternal Mortality Review Board (MMRB) and Maternal Mortality & Morbidity Advisory Council (MMMAC).

In 2018, New York saw 42 pregnancy-related deaths. The report found that Black, non-Hispanic women were five times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes compared to White, non-Hispanic women. Discrimination was a contributing factors in 46% of all pregnancy-related deaths, found the report.


“Examining maternal health outcomes from a racial equity perspective is critical to unearthing institutional issues so they can be addressed,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, according to a news release. “Access to good, quality maternal healthcare should be guaranteed to every pregnant New Yorker, and the Department remains committed to the findings from this work.”

The leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths that year were embolism (20%), hemorrhage (20%), and mental health conditions (15%). The report found that 78% of those deaths were preventable, and that 100% of the deaths caused by hemorrhage, mental health conditions, and cardiomyopathy were preventable. Over half of women that died did so within six weeks of delivery.



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