Healthy pregnancies are essential for the well-being of mothers, infants, families and communities. Although pregnancy is an exciting time, there are stresses and risks that come with pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Maternal deaths in the United States are increasing. Approximately 700 women in the United States die every year as a result of a pregnancy or pregnancy-related complication. According to the CDC, from 2011-2015 more than one-third of pregnancy related deaths were caused by cardiovascular conditions, such as cardiomyopathy. Additionally, mental health conditions and accidental poisonings due to substance use also contribute to the number of pregnancy related deaths.
Disparities in Maternal Health
In both the United States and Pennsylvania, there are racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health and maternal mortality. In Pennsylvania specifically, African American women are three times more likely to die during or after pregnancy than white women. The gap between health outcomes for African American and white women is evidence that there is more work to be done to understand, reduce, and prevent pregnancy related deaths. To ensure that all women in Pennsylvania have healthy pregnancies, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has made maternal and child health a priority.
Information for Pregnant & Postpartum Women
One way to ensure a healthy pregnancy is to know about potential complications and ways to manage any problems that come up during and after pregnancy. The resources below have information on risk factors, warning signs, and ways to protect yourself and your baby. Once you know you are pregnant, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible to begin your prenatal care.