California Releases Inaugural Maternal Mortality Surveillance Report

California Releases Inaugural Maternal Mortality Surveillance Report

The Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Division of the California Department of Public Health has released the first report from the California Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System (CA-PMSS) project. This surveillance report provides the most accurate information on California’s pregnancy-related deaths (including those up to one year after the end of pregnancy) occurring from 2008 through 2016.


Read the joint letter from the Center for Family Health and the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics.

Highlights from this report include the following: 

During the reporting period, 1,934 women died while pregnant or within one year of the end of pregnancy. Nearly one third (608) of these deaths were related to pregnancy.

·     In 2016, the pregnancy-related mortality ratio (PRMR) was 14.1 deaths per 100,000 live births.

·     Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths. (Suicides and homicides are not included in the CDC PMSS review methodology.)

·     We continue to see disparities based on geography and between racial/ethnic groups.

·     In 2014-2016, the PRMR for Black women was four to six times greater than the mortality ratios for women of other racial/ethnic groups including White, Hispanic/Latina and Asian/Pacific Islander.

·     Older age, obesity, reliance on public insurance and living in less advantaged communities may have contributed to higher PRMR for all racial/ethnic groups.

·     CA-PMSS surveillance findings revealed a need for a more thorough investigation of pregnancy-related deaths to identify contributing factors and opportunities for improvement, in order to reduce disparities and prevent pregnancy-related mortality. 


Read the findings, learn about the methodology and find additional report highlights by visiting the CA-PMSS web page.



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