The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has released three reports that provide significant new insight into maternal mortality measurement in the United States, along with detailed data files for researchers. NCHS has released the first national estimate of maternal mortality in more than a decade. The new rate is based on the use of a checkbox that helps identify deaths related to pregnancy.
- For 2018, the maternal mortality rate is 17.4 per 100,000 live births in the United States.
- Of the 25 reported states, Oklahoma had the 4th highest maternal mortality rate of 30.1. States with higher rates include Arkansas (45.9), Kentucky (40.8), and Alabama (36.4).
- Wide racial and ethnic gaps exist between non-Hispanic black (37.1 deaths per 100,000 live births), non-Hispanic white (14.7), and Hispanic (11.8) women.
- New coding procedures—including how to use a checkbox that helps identify deaths related to pregnancy—improve the accuracy of maternal mortality estimates.
NCHS released three separate reports outlining the maternal mortality data and reporting processes:
- National Vital Statistics Report, Volume 69, Number 2: Maternal Mortality in the United States: Changes in Coding, Publication, and Data Release, 2018 [PDF – 1 MB] – This report includes the 2018 maternal mortality rates and discusses new coding procedures.
- National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 69, Number 1: Evaluation of the Pregnancy Status Checkbox on the Identification of Maternal Deaths [PDF – 450 KB] – This report describes the changes in rates due to the inclusion of the checkbox.
- Series 3, Number 44: The Impact of the Pregnancy Checkbox and Misclassification on Maternal Mortality Trends in the United States, 1999—2017 [PDF – 1 MB] – This report describes the use of a set of sophisticated statistical models to look at trends over this period to better understand the impact of the gradual adoption of the checkbox on national statistics.