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Maternal Mortality Review

The Healthy People 2020 Goal is no more than 11.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 births. Currently in Oklahoma the maternal mortality rate from 2003-2007 was 27.0 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Each year in the State of Oklahoma, women die of complications related to pregnancy. Since Maternal Mortality is viewed as an indicator of the overall effectiveness of the obstetrical and the general health care systems, elements that contribute to its decline must be identified and eliminated. Through appropriate interventions, prevention of risks, and reduction of racial disparities, these mortality rates can be dramatically decreased. A process must be in place, however, to determine why and how the deaths occur.

The Maternal Mortality Review (MMR) is an essential community process used to enhance and improve services to women, infants and their families. These qualitative, in-depth reviews investigate the causes and circumstances surrounding a maternal death. Through communication and collaboration the MMR serves as a continuous quality improvement system that will result in a comprehensive understanding of the maternal issues and provide a better future for women, infants and families. The overall goal of Maternal Mortality Reviews is prevention through understanding of causes and risk factors.

The Oklahoma MMR operates under the auspices of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Through uniform procedures, defined processes and assigned responsibilities, the OSDH initiates the MMR process by identifying pregnancy-related cases. Deaths of women of childbearing age are reviewed to determine if the death might be classified as a maternal mortality.

These efforts are designed to:

• Improve and enhance public health efforts to reduce and prevent maternal death in Oklahoma.
• Improve identification of maternal deaths in order to interpret trends, identify high-risk groups, and develop effective interventions.
• Utilize review information to identify health care system issues and gaps in service delivery and care.
• Develop action plans and preventive strategies to implement recommendations in communities and provider networks.

Interventions, strategies and the development of systems that increase knowledge and decrease pregnancy-related mortality will serve not only to improve the health of women and children but will provide overwhelming benefits for all Oklahomans.

Contact Information:
Perinatal & Reproductive Health Division, MMR Project Manager
1000 NE 10th Street, Room 905
Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Phone: (405) 271-4476
e-mail: Leanna Harkess, APRN, CNP, CNM

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