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Lost Mothers

Maternal Care and Preventable Deaths

The U.S. has the highest rate of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth in the developed world. Half of the deaths are preventable, victimizing women from a variety of races, backgrounds, educations and income levels.

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Lost Mothers

An estimated 700 to 900 women in the U.S. died from pregnancy-related causes in 2016. We have identified 120 of them so far.

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Video: How More Midwives May Mean Healthier Mothers

When it comes to midwife use, the U.S. falls behind other affluent countries. A deeper look at history explains why.

Redesigning Maternal Care: OB-GYNs Are Urged to See New Mothers Sooner and More Often

Sweeping changes in medical practice could improve the dismal U.S. rate of maternal deaths and near-deaths, an influential doctors’ group says.

ProPublica/NPR Collaboration a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting

The project, "Lost Mothers," is one of nine ProPublica Pulitzer finalists in 10 years of publishing.

Here’s One Issue Blue and Red States Agree On: Preventing Deaths of Expectant and New Mothers

From Indiana to Oregon, lawmakers are passing bills to increase scrutiny of maternal deaths. Often, they’re citing our “Lost Mothers” series.

How We Collected Nearly 5,000 Stories of Maternal Harm

Asking if readers knew women who died or almost died in childbirth drew an outpouring that carries lessons for both traditional and engaged journalism.

A Larger Role for Midwives Could Improve Deficient U.S. Care for Mothers and Babies

According to a new study, states that give midwives a greater role in patient care achieve better results on key measures of maternal and neonatal health.

Maternal Deaths Are Increasing in Texas, But Probably Not as Much as We Thought

A statistical jump in the mortality rate of expectant and new mothers over 40 is “biologically implausible,” according to the co-author of a new study.

How Hospitals Are Failing Black Mothers

A ProPublica analysis shows that women who deliver at hospitals that disproportionately serve black mothers are at a higher risk of harm.

How We Measured Birth Complications

Here’s the methodology for our analysis of birth complication rates.

Severe Complications for Women During Childbirth Are Skyrocketing — and Could Often Be Prevented

The rate of life-threatening complications for new mothers in the U.S. has more than doubled in two decades due to pre-existing conditions, medical errors and unequal access to care.

Black Women Disproportionately Suffer Complications of Pregnancy and Childbirth. Let’s Talk About It.

We started with 10 women who faced six different maternal complications.

Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Not education. Not income. Not even being an expert on racial disparities in health care.

New Jersey Bill Would Create Commission Empowered to Probe Deaths Related to Pregnancy and Childbirth

Spurred by ProPublica and NPR’s reporting, New Jersey lawmakers are moving to tighten requirements to report maternal deaths, investigate their causes and identify ways to prevent them.

New York City Launches Committee to Review Maternal Deaths

Amid intensifying concerns about deaths and near-deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth, New York City will review cases in depth to protect mothers and improve data collection.

How Many American Women Die From Causes Related to Pregnancy or Childbirth? No One Knows.

Data collection on maternal deaths is so flawed and under-funded that the federal government no longer even publishes an official death rate.

ProPublica, NPR and BPL Presents to Host Maternal Health Forum With Advice for Expectant Families

Join us for a community forum about protecting more women from harm.

Another Thing Disappearing From Rural America: Maternal Care

A new study shows that more than half of the country’s rural counties now don’t have hospitals with obstetric services. And women of color are being hit the hardest.

Why Giving Birth Is Safer in Britain Than in the U.S.

The U.S. and the U.K. used to have the same rate of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth. Now, Britain’s is almost three times lower. Here’s what they’re doing right.

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