Maternal Health AwarenessEvery year in Arizona, about 70 women die within a year of a pregnancy, and another 900 women experience unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to their health. More than 80% of those complications are considered preventable with proper care, according to the Arizona Maternal Mortality Review Committee

The challenge is greater for minority women in Arizona. American Indian women are 3-4 times more likely to experience severe complications than white women. The frequency is twice as high for Black women, and women in rural areas also have a greater likelihood of complications and death. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and people who have had COVID-19 during pregnancy are at increased risk for preterm birth and stillbirth.

With Maternal Health Awareness Day falling this week, we’re highlighting ADHS programs that help women and families increase the likelihood of healthy births:

  • Arizona AIM Collaborative: ADHS has teamed with the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, the Alliance for Innovation of Maternal Health, and other stakeholders to help birthing hospitals across Arizona work to end preventable maternal death and severe complications.
  • Hear Her Campaign: Raises awareness among pregnant individuals, support systems and providers about urgent maternal warning signs during and after pregnancy.
  • Hope Heals: Provides resources for providers and mothers struggling with substance use disorders.
  • Count the Kicks: Educates expectant parents about the importance of tracking fetal movement daily in the third trimester of pregnancy.
  • Rural prenatal telemedicine: Supports remote communities to access prenatal care through telemedicine, allowing women to speak with healthcare professionals to make sure they get the proper care.
  • Maternal and Family Wellness From an Indigenous Perspective training series: The Maternal Health Innovation Program partnered with tribal communities statewide to create community driven and culturally competent approaches to maternal health and traditional birth education.
  • Perinatal mental health training series: To increase capacity and access to appropriate perinatal mental health, ADHS partnered with Postpartum Support International to host a perinatal mental health training series and provide a pathway to perinatal certification.
  • Maternal Health Task Force: Committees of subject matter experts partner with ADHS to identify priorities and strategies to address maternal health issues that will bring equitable and optimal health and pregnancy outcomes. Subcommittees have been formed focusing on improving maternal mental health and tribal maternal health. 
  • Home visiting: Expanding home visiting programs reduces disparities in maternal health through collaborative and targeted interventions with populations at highest risk for adverse outcomes: mothers in indigenous, African American, and rural communities
  • Maternal Mortality Review Committee: This multidisciplinary team reviews cases in order to identify preventative factors to provide recommendations for systems-level changes.  

ADHS is committed to initiatives that educate patients and healthcare providers about the causes and contributing factors of maternal morbidity and mortality, and empower women to report pregnancy-related medical issues. Please visit our website for more information on ADHS maternal health programming and data.