Last month, the Tennessee Department of Health issued the first maternal mortality review report, Tennessee Maternal Mortality Review of 2017 Maternal Deaths. The report describes the state of maternal mortality in Tennessee based on a comprehensive review of deaths of women who died while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy. State officials said the goal of the effort is to identify opportunities for preventing maternal deaths and promoting women's health.
The MMR committee determined 85 percent of all maternal deaths reviewed to be preventable. In 2017, 78 women in Tennessee died while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy. Substance use contributed to 33 percent of all pregnancy-associated deaths in 2017 and mental health conditions contributed to 18 percent of these deaths. The MMR Committee recommended increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment both during and for the year following pregnancy. Violence was also noted as a significant contributing factor to maternal deaths with 14 percent of the maternal deaths in 2017 being the result of homicide.
"We dedicate this report with deepest sympathy and respect to the memory of these women who died while pregnant or within a year of their pregnancies," said TDH Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. "We are grateful to the committee members who contributed to this report by reviewing information about these deaths and developing recommendations that can save lives."
The full report is available here.