Trends and Disparities in Delivery Hospitalizations Involving Severe Maternal Morbidity

Statistical Brief 243

Trends and Disparities in Delivery Hospitalizations Involving Severe Maternal Morbidity, a statistical brief from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, presents trends and disparities in delivery hospitalizations involving severe maternal morbidity.

Severe maternal morbidity is defined as including unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short-or long-term consequences to a woman's health. Deliveries involving severe maternal morbidity generally include life-threatening conditions, such as: acute myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, or sepsis.

Highlights

  • The rate of severe maternal morbidity at delivery, as defined by 21 conditions and procedures, increased 45 percent from 2006–2015, and 101.3–146.6 per 10,000 delivery hospitalizations.
  • The most common indicators of severe maternal morbidity were blood transfusion, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and hysterectomy (121.1, 11.0, and 11.0 per 10,000 deliveries, respectively, in 2015.)
  • Some conditions often involved procedural intervention. In 2015, over half of deliveries with shock, amniotic fluid embolism, sickle cell disease with crisis, and disseminated intravascular coagulation had a blood transfusion; one-third of deliveries with shock had a hysterectomy.
  • Severe maternal morbidity was highest among women over 40 years old and lowest for those aged 20–29 years (248 and 136 per 10,000 deliveries, respectively).
  • On average Black mothers were younger than White mothers. Yet the rate of severe maternal morbidity was 112–115 percent higher for Blacks than for Whites in 2006 (164 vs. 76) and 2015 (241 vs. 114), with no change in the Black-White disparity.
  • Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders also had higher rates of severe maternal morbidity than Whites in both years, but disparities decreased over time.
  • Although deaths decreased for all races/ethnicities, in-hospital mortality was 3 times higher for Blacks than for Whites in 2015 (11 vs. 4 per 100,000 deliveries).

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Page last reviewed September 2018
Page originally created September 2018
Internet Citation: Trends and Disparities in Delivery Hospitalizations Involving Severe Maternal Morbidity. Content last reviewed September 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/delivery-hospitalizations.html