Maternal mortality, or deaths from pregnancy-related causes, have been rising in the United States. The rate of maternal deaths in California in 1999 was 7.7 deaths per 100,000 live births and by 2006 it was 16.9 deaths per 100,000 live births. African-American women are roughly four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in all other racial/ethnic groups.
In response to this concerning trend, 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. Since 2006, California has seen maternal mortality decline by 55 percent between 2006 to 2013, from 16.9 deaths per 100,000 live births to 7.3 deaths per 100,000 live births. In contrast, the U.S. national maternal mortality rate continued to rise.