The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has released three reports on 2018 maternal mortality. These reports and other resources are available on the NCHS website.
- The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has released three reports providing significant new insight into maternal mortality measurement in the United States, along with detailed data files for researchers.
- NCHS has released the first national estimate of maternal mortality in more than a decade. The new rate is based on the use of a checkbox that helps identify deaths related to pregnancy.
- The national maternal mortality rate (MMR) in 2018 was 17.4.
- Wide racial and ethnic gaps exist between non-Hispanic black women (37.1 deaths per 100,000 live births), non-Hispanic white (14.7), and Hispanic (11.8) women.
- The MMR is more than double the rate reported before the checkbox was added, but a rigorous evaluation confirms that a majority of the increase in reported rates is because of changes in reporting methods. After evaluating more comparable data, the rate has not significantly changed since 1999.
- Based on this evaluation, NCHS has also identified instances where application of the checkbox information according to coding rules led to misclassification of maternal deaths, and NCHS has made changes in coding rules and reporting to make data more accurate.
- In addition to the reports, NCHS has released a public-use data file for 2018, and will be releasing detailed data files for researchers from 2015 through 2018. These 2015-2018 data files for researchers will include all of the details included on the death certificate, so that researchers can independently assess the influence of the checkbox.
2018 Maternal Mortality Reports
National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 69, Number 1: Evaluation of the Pregnancy Status Checkbox on the Identification of Maternal Deaths
This report describes the changes in rates due to the inclusion of the checkbox.
Series 3, Number 44: The Impact of the Pregnancy Checkbox and Misclassification on Maternal Mortality Trends in the United States, 1999—2017
This report describes the use of a set of sophisticated statistical models to look at trends over this period to better understand the impact of the gradual adoption of the checkbox on national statistics.
National Vital Statistics Report, Volume 69, Number 2: Maternal Mortality in the United States: Changes in Coding, Publication, and Data Release, 2018
This report includes the 2018 maternal mortality rates and discusses new coding procedures.