Maternal mortality refers to the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth, or one year postpartum. A mother’s death is tragic and can have lasting emotional, social, and economic consequences for her family and community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 700 women die each year in the United States due to pregnancy or delivery complications.
Maternal Mortality Definitions
Pregnancy-associated death: The death of a woman while pregnant or within one year of the termination of pregnancy, regardless of the cause. This makes up the universe of maternal mortality. Within that universe are pregnancy-related deaths and pregnancy-associated, but not related deaths.
Pregnancy-associated, but not related death: The death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy, from a cause that is not related to pregnancy.
Pregnancy-related death: The death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy, from a pregnancy complication, a chain of events initiated by pregnancy, or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.
South Dakota Statistics
South Dakota uses vital statistics data to examine the occurrence of maternal mortality in the state. The death certificates of women who died during pregnancy, childbirth, and one year postpartum are reviewed and linked to fetal birth and death certificates when possible.
The South Dakota Department of Health's Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) is a multidisciplinary expert panel with representation from public health, nursing, maternal and fetal medicine, mental health, substance use, pathology, obstetrics/gynecology, and social work.
The South Dakota MMRC reviews all deaths of South Dakota residents that occur while pregnant or within one year of the end of pregnancy. The MMRC determines pregnancy-relatedness, preventability, and contributing factors to the death. The MMRC develops recommendations based on these factors to improve policies and practices and reduce preventable maternal deaths in South Dakota.
The South Dakota MMRC began reviewing cases in October 2021 and reviewed 20 cases in its first year. These deaths occurred from 2018-2021. SD MMRC committee members are listed below.
- Dr. Mary Carpenter, South Dakota Department of Health, Chair
- Christine Catts, South Dakota Department of Health, Case Abstractor
- Katelyn Strasser, South Dakota Department of Health, Epidemiologist
- Dr. Ashley Briggs, Sanford Health
- Dr. Rochelle Christensen, Rapid City Obstetrics & Gynecology
- Dr. Mark Ballard, Ballard Gynecology
- Michaela Seiber, South Dakota Urban Indian Health
- Kamela Johnson, Monument Health
- Dr. Kimberlee McKay, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
- Dr. Rachel Rodel, Sanford Health
- Dori Vojta, Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinic
- Randee Peterson, South Dakota Department of Social Services
- Jennifer Folliard, Community Healthcare Association of the Dakotas
- Leslie Krump, South Dakota Department of Health
- Dr. Sara Flynn, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
- Dr. Kenneth Snell, Sanford Health
- Dr. Meghan O'Connell, Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022). Maternal Mortality. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternal-mortality/index.html
South Dakota Vital Statistics. (2021). Maternal mortality. Unpublished raw data.