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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health

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Maternal Health Initiative

  • Approximately 4 million women give birth annually. An estimated 52,000 experience severe complications and between 500 and 600 of the complications result in death, although half are preventable.
  • Pregnancy-related deaths in the United States increased from 7.2 to 17.8 per 100,000 live births between 1987 and 2009.  Moreover, significant racial and ethnic disparities in maternal mortality persist and have not improved in more than 60 years. 
  • Hospitalizations related to pregnancy and delivery complications cost 50 percent more than stays without complications and account for $17.4 billion, or approximately 5 percent of total hospital costs in the U.S. 
  • As the population continues to age and the prevalence of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic conditions continues to increase these trends are expected to continue and even worsen.

The Maternal Health Initiative (MHI) is a partnership of U.S. government agencies and private organizations working together to reverse these alarming and costly trends in maternal morbidity and mortality.

Partners coordinate their efforts, identify gaps and collaborate to improve

  • Women’s health before, during, and after pregnancy by facilitating the implementation of key Medicaid coverage provisions in the Affordable Care Act that are important to the reproductive health of women.
  • Systems of maternity care including clinical and public health systems by strengthening state and local system’s capacity and infrastructure to identify maternal risks and enable linkages to prenatal and postpartum primary care.
  • Public awareness and education by increasing public awareness about the familial and societal burden of maternal morbidity and mortality in the U.S.
  • Research and surveillance by facilitating the translation of findings from surveillance and research into practice.
  • The quality and safety of maternity care by supporting clinical guidelines and protocols for obstetric emergencies and referrals.

Partners include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs.

Pregnant Belly with Sonogram Photo

Funding Opportunity
Apply by June 16 to HRSA-14-134 Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health: Improving Maternal Health and Safety cooperative agreement.  The funding opportunity aims to prevent approximately 100,000 women from preventable death and severe morbidities within 5 years. One award of as much as $1 million a year over a 4 year project period will support the grantee in engaging provider and hospital organizations, State public health leaders, payers, regulatory bodies, consumer groups and others in a concerted effort to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality and improve pregnancy outcomes.