Maternal Health

Tatia DC Event: Role of the Birthing Community in Improving U.S. Maternity Care

On May 1, The Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation held an educational event in Washington, DC focused on highlighting the role of the birthing community in improving U.S. Maternity Care. The event included a screening of the documentary “Tatia’s Story: From Life to Death in 10 Hours,” and a panel discussion among maternal health experts and leaders in the birthing community regarding the issues of racial disparities in maternal mortality, the importance of being fully informed, and the dangers of using Cytotec for labor induction.


Speakers and panelists included: Nan Strauss of Choices in Childbirth, Tina Johnson of American College of Nurse-Midwives, Jennie Joseph of Commonsense Childbirth, Claudia Booker of Birthing Hands Midwifery and Birthing Services, and Maddy Oden, Executive Director of the Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation

Do You Know Someone Who Died or Nearly Died in Childbirth? Help Us Investigate Maternal Health

By many measures, the United States has become the most dangerous industrialized country in which to give birth.

by Adriana Gallardo

By many measures, the United States has become the most dangerous industrialized country in which to give birth.

American women are more than twice as likely to die of pregnancy-related causes as British women, three times as likely as Canadians and six times as likely as Norwegians and Poles, according to 2015 data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. While other wealthy nations reduced maternal deaths in recent years, the U.S. maternal mortality rate jumped more than 25 percent from 2000 to 2014, researchers reported last August.

And for every expectant or new mother in the U.S. who dies, as many as 100 women come very close to dying, often with devastating long-term physical, emotional and economic effects. Maternal near deaths —from hemorrhages, strokes, aneurysms, clots, sepsis infections, cardiac arrest, organ failure and other life-threatening complications of pregnancy and childbirth— have been on the rise, and now exceed 65,000 a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The racial disparities are striking: African-American mothers are 3 to 4 times more likely to die or nearly die than whites.

ProPublica and NPR and Special Correspondent Renee Montagne are seeking your help in understanding why so many American women die and nearly die because of pregnancy and childbirth—and how the health care system can be improved to protect more mothers from harm.

Do you know someone who died or nearly died in pregnancy, childbirth, or within a year after delivery? Please tell us your story.

Are you a health care professional or policymaker with information to share? Please email us at or

Follow our reporting here.

Via ProPublica

A Call to Action on Racial Disparities in NYC’s Maternal Health

Bridget Coila

Bridget Coila

By Hannah Searing, Deborah L. Kaplan and George L. Askew


Each year in New York City, approximately 30 women die of causes related to pregnancy, with the largest burden of deaths falling on women of color. A 2016 Lancet series on maternal health put this problem in shocking perspective: The risk for Black women in New York City of dying in childbirth is double that of women living in some developing countries in Southeast Asia.

In an effort to better understand and effectively reduce maternal deaths, we at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) decided to dig deeper and determine how many women in New York City are affected by severe maternal morbidity (SMM), or life threatening complications during childbirth including heavy bleeding, blood clots, kidney failure, stroke and heart attack.

Read more here