Jan. 24, 2018: New Jersey Marks First Ever Maternal Health Awareness Day

The healthcare community joined with lawmakers, public health officials and advocacy groups for New Jersey’s first observance of Maternal Health Awareness Day, an event to raise understanding of maternal health and maternal mortality.

Monmouth Medical Center hosted Sen. Joe Vitale in an awareness event. Vitale, chair of the Senate Health Committee, has pledged to hold hearings on the state’s maternal mortality issue.

Gov. Phil Murphy issued a proclamation outlining the outcomes and challenges in New Jersey, particularly the significant racial disparities in maternal mortality. Despite advances in medical science and technology, deaths related to complications from pregnancy and childbirth are on the rise nationally and in New Jersey. 

In New Jersey, pregnant women and new mothers die at a rate above the national average, according to the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings. The New Jersey Maternal Mortality Case Review Team found that African-American women are five times as likely as their white counterparts to die from pregnancy-related complications, according to the Department of Health. 

The leading causes of pregnancy-related death include cardiovascular disease, pregnancy-related heart failure, embolism, septic shock and cerebral hemorrhage. Factors that may contribute to maternal deaths include obesity, chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, lack of prenatal care, and drug use. 

NJHA has partnered with DOH in the New Jersey Perinatal Quality Collaborative under a five-year cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead a statewide collaborative effort to reduce complications associated with high blood pressure and hemorrhage and reduce racial/ethnic and geographic disparities.