Maternal mortality, or deaths from pregnancy-related causes, have long been rising in the United States. African-American women were, and still are, three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in all other racial/ethnic groups. In 2006 the California Department of Public Health, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division launched the California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (CA-PAMR) project to identify pregnancy-related deaths, causation and contributing factors, and then make recommendations on quality improvements to maternity care. CMQCC works in partnership with CDPH and Public Health Institute on CA-PAMR. The data shown here and more information about California maternal mortality can be found at CDPH/MCAH Programs.
- California's pregnancy-related mortality ratio (PRMR) in 2019 was 12.8 deaths per 100,000 live births and was lower than the PRMR of 16.1 in 2018. The PRMR began to rise gradually in 2013 and peaked in 2018.
- CA PRMR was consistently lower than the U.S. PRMR from 2011 through 2017.
- The rate of pregnancy-related deaths from hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (preeclampsia/eclampsia) decreased significantly in 2017-2019. For the first time, hypertensive disorders are no longer among the top five leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths in California.
- Cardiovascular disease continued to be the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in 2017-2019, followed by hemorrhage, sepsis or infection, thrombotic pulmonary embolism, and amniotic fluid embolism.
- Racial ethnic disparities in the rates of pregnancy-related deaths narrowed in 2017-2019 but persist. The PRMR for Black birthing people was three to four times higher than the PRMRs for all other racial/ethnic groups in California. The PRMRs for Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latina birthing people gradually increased from 2011 through 2019.
CA-PAMR is supported by the federal Title V Maternal and Child Health block grant from the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division of the California Department of Public Health.