The birth of a child is and should be among the happiest events in a woman’s life. And hospitals and clinicians seek to partner with women to create and carry out birth plans that respect their wishes for this special time. As a nurse who has cared for women in labor, I know how important it is for the patient to be heard and be an active participant in her care.

Tragically, complications sometimes can and do occur. That is why hospitals are engaged in national improvement projects — to test new ideas and disseminate practices that improve care for all because one preventable complication is one too many. The American Hospital Association is an active partner in the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health, a national data-driven maternal safety and quality improvement initiative based on proven implementation approaches to improving maternal safety and outcomes in the U.S. Through these collaborative efforts and hospitals’ continued commitment, some adverse obstetric-related events are decreasing. Such national-level collaborations have had significant impact, such as a nearly 65% drop in early-elective deliveries from 2010 to 2013.

While hospitals and clinicians have worked hard to improve outcomes, we must continue to pursue advancements in maternal care and ensure that patients’ wishes are heard by clinicians. Actionable data can reduce risk of morbidity, which can result in lower mortality. That is why the AHA and more than 80 organizations are urging House and Senate leaders to pass H.R. 1318/S. 1112 before year-end. This legislation provides critical federal funding for state efforts to develop maternal mortality review committees to better understand maternal complications and identify solutions. This collection and dissemination of this additional data is one – but important – step that will aid in better understanding the causes of complications and ways to improve treatment.

In addition, we continue to advocate for increasing access to health insurance and prenatal care, as well as addressing health inequities and the lack of social services in our communities. We recognize that women are at risk from the first days of pregnancy through the postpartum period, and hospitals and their partners can do more to improve their care across the continuum. Everyone deserves a healthy start.

Related News Articles

The AHA recently participated in a meeting of an American Academy of Family Physicians task force that will recommend evidence-based strategies to improve…
Women in rural areas face unique maternal health care challenges, including hospital closures or lack of obstetric services. In this AHA Stat Blog, Jay Bhatt,…
Community-based organizations and others can apply through July 15 for funding to address maternal health disparities and improve outcomes.
Leaders of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions today released the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019 – bipartisan discussion draft…
U.S. birth rates declined for the fourth consecutive year with only 3.78 million babies born in 2018, the fewest in over three decades, according to a report…
The House Ways and Means Committee today held a hearing examining the impact of racial disparities and social determinants of health on maternal mortality.