Safe motherhood in the United States: challenges for surveillance.
ABSTRACT Maternal mortality ratios in the United States are higher than those of many other industrialized nations. Moreover, these ratios have not changed in the past 20 years, and large racial disparities persist in measures of both maternal mortality and morbidity. In an affluent developed country, maternal deaths should serve as rare sentinel events, highlighting opportunities for prevention and reduction of morbidities. However, existing surveillance efforts are poorly developed, and pregnancy-related deaths and illnesses tend to be underreported. To formulate recommendations for improved surveillance, the authors reviewed existing data on maternal health.
This review examines the scope and quality of existing information and the strengths and limitations of definitions of maternal mortality and morbidity used in data collection and reporting.
This review suggests numerous gaps in surveillance of U.S. maternal health. Psychological as well as physical morbidity, and the presence and adequacy of appropriate treatment, should be ascertained. Quality of pregnancy-related care at the clinical and community levels, and the impact on mortality and morbidity, must be assessed. Collection of morbidity data outside of health care delivery sites is also essential. Trade-offs between nationally representative and other less comprehensive data sources, such as sentinel clinics, large healthcare organizations, and public healthcare financing systems, should be considered.
Maternal health remains an important frontier for U.S. public health surveillance efforts. Improved surveillance offers opportunities for reducing pregnancy-related mortality and gaining a better understanding of the relationship between maternal morbidity and mortality.
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ABSTRACT: To use data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Pregnancy-Related Mortality Surveillance System to examine trends in pregnancy-related mortality and risk factors for pregnancy-related death. In collaboration with ACOG and state health departments, the Pregnancy-Related Mortality Surveillance System has collected information on all deaths caused by pregnancy since 1979. Multiple data sources were used, including national death files, state health departments, maternal mortality review committees, individuals, and the media. As part of the initiation of the Pregnancy-Related Mortality Surveillance System in 1987, CDC staff contacted state health department personnel and encouraged them to identify and report pregnancy-related deaths. Data were reviewed and coded by experienced clinicians. Pregnancy-related mortality ratios (pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births) were calculated. After decreasing annually after 1979, the reported pregnancy-related mortality ratio increased from 7.2 in 1987 to 10.0 in 1990. This increase occurred among women of all races. A higher risk of pregnancy-related death was found with increasing maternal age, increasing live-birth order, no prenatal care, and among unmarried women. The leading causes of pregnancy-related death were hemorrhage, embolism, and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. During the periods 1979-1986 and 1987-1990, the cause-specific pregnancy-related mortality ratios decreased for deaths due to hemorrhage and anesthesia, whereas pregnancy-related mortality ratios due to cardiomyopathy and infection increased. The leading causes of death varied according to the outcome of the pregnancy. Increased efforts to identify pregnancy-related deaths have contributed to an increase in the reported pregnancy-related mortality ratio. More than half of such deaths, however, are probably still unreported. Adequate surveillance of pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity is necessary for interpreting trends, identifying high-risk groups, and developing effective interventions.Obstetrics and Gynecology 09/1996; 88(2):161-7. · 4.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Awareness about the extent of maternal physical and emotional health problems after childbirth is increasing, but few longitudinal studies examining their duration have been published. The aim of this study was to describe changes in the prevalence of maternal health problems in the 6 months after birth and their association with parity and method of birth. A population-based, cohort study was conducted in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Australia. The study population, comprising women who gave birth to a live baby from March to October 1997, completed 4 questionnaires on the fourth postpartum day, and at 8, 16, and 24 weeks postpartum. Outcome measures were self-reported health problems during each of the three 8-week postpartum periods up to 24 weeks. A total of 1295 women participated, and 1193 (92) completed the study. Health problems showing resolution between 8 and 24 weeks postpartum were exhaustion/extreme tiredness (60-49), backache (53-45), bowel problems (37-17), lack of sleep/baby crying (30-15), hemorrhoids (30-13), perineal pain (22-4), excessive/prolonged bleeding (20-2), urinary incontinence (19-11), mastitis (15-3), and other urinary problems (5-3). No significant changes occurred in the prevalence of frequent headaches or migraines, sexual problems, or depression over the 6 months. Adjusting for method of birth, primiparas were more likely than multiparas to report perineal pain and sexual problems. Compared with unassisted vaginal births, women who had cesarean sections reported more exhaustion, lack of sleep, and bowel problems; reported less perineal pain and urinary incontinence in the first 8 weeks; and were more likely to be readmitted to hospital within 8 weeks of the birth. Women with forceps or vacuum extraction reported more perineal pain and sexual problems than those with unassisted vaginal births after adjusting for parity, perineal trauma, and length of labor. Health problems commonly occurred after childbirth with some resolution over the 6 months postpartum. Some important differences in prevalence of health problems were evident when parity and method of birth were considered.Birth 07/2002; 29(2):83-94. · 2.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The success of immunizations in nearly eliminating many vaccine-preventable diseases has resulted in an increase in the need to study risks from vaccines, combination or otherwise. The well-known limitations associated with prelicensure trials have led many to hope that postlicensure studies can address safety issues. This article reviews measures that have been or should be taken to meet this expectation: establishment of clinical immunization safety assessment centers, standardization of case definitions for vaccine adverse events, use of the Vaccine Identification Standards Initiative to improve the accuracy and efficiency with which vaccination records are transferred, integration of vaccine safety monitoring into immunization registries, establishment (and enlargement) of the Vaccine Safety Datalink project, use of innovative analytic tools for better signal detection, and implementation of various methods to overcome confounding by contraindication. Only by investing in vaccine safety infrastructure at a level commensurate with investments in vaccine development can we hope to retain the public's confidence in immunization.Clinical Infectious Diseases 01/2002; 33 Suppl 4:S327-33. · 9.37 Impact Factor