The United States has the costliest maternity care system in the world, yet lags behind many other nations on key performance indicators. Maternity care is an essential health care service for the 85 percent of women who give birth one or more times. In the U.S., maternity care is characterized by broad practice variation, with overuse of cesareans and other procedures and failure to reliably make available many beneficial practices. A growing severe shortage of obstetricians and midwives poses access challenges and additional opportunities for improvement. Research shows that women of color are disproportionately impacted by high maternal mortality rates, which undermines the overall maternal health status of women in this country. In addition, pregnancy is a time of dramatic change in a woman and complications or preexisting or previously undiagnosed conditions may arise. With increases in maternal age, obesity and diabetes, the number of women at risk for certain disorders during pregnancy will continue to rise.
– Improve access, quality and affordability of maternity care services.
– Support research to identify and address root causes and factors impacting high maternal mortality rates among women of color.
– Create and maintain user-friendly web-based public reporting tools with actionable data about maternity services.
– Support research into causes of pregnancy complications and provide education and ongoing follow up for women who experience complications so they are aware of any long-term health risks.