Improving the well-being of mothers, infants, and children is important. We do this through the development of a skilled workforce and quality, innovative programs.
What health problems do women face?
It is more and more common for women to have chronic conditions like
- high blood pressure;
- heart disease; and
How do these conditions affect maternal health?
Women with these conditions are more likely to have problems around the time they give birth or in the period after giving birth.
- Since 1987, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. has more than doubled.
- Non-Hispanic Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native women are significantly more likely to die from pregnancy related causes than non-Hispanic White women.
Source: Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
How do we promote maternal health?
We promote maternal health through the programs and research we fund.
- Title V Block Grant Program
Funds 59 states and jurisdictions to provide health care and public health services. States determine the best approaches to address maternal and child health, including maternal death and disease. For example, some support reviews to identify causes of, monitor trends in, and prevent future deaths.
- Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program
Funds voluntary home visits for at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children based on evidence-based practices. Home visitors address a number of factors that contribute to reducing maternal morbidity and mortality.
Home visitors conduct screenings and provide referrals to address maternal depression, substance use disorder, and intimate partner violence.
- Healthy Start
Uses a community-based approach to improve a woman's health before, during, and after pregnancy as well as the health of her child. Our work aims to reduce racial and ethnic differences in rates of infant deaths and other negative maternal and child health outcomes.
- Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health and Safety (AIM) Initiative
Funds state-based teams to use maternal safety bundles, sets of evidence-based practices that have been shown to improve patient outcomes in healthcare settings. In 2019, we increased funding to expand its reach and launched the AIM-Community Care Initiative. This Initiative addresses pregnancy-related deaths that occur outside of hospitals.
- State Maternal Health Innovation (State MHI) Program
Funds allow nine states to establish a Maternal Health Task Force to support innovative state-led efforts. States are addressing critical gaps in maternity care service delivery.
- Remote Pregnancy Monitoring Challenge
Competitors will develop technology to improve prenatal care providers’ ability to monitor pregnant women’s health remotely.
- Addressing Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women and New Moms Challenge
Competitors will develop technology to improve access to health care for pregnant women and new mothers struggling with opioid use disorder.
- Health Centers
Provide primary medical, dental, mental health, substance use disorder, and patient support services to more than seven million women aged 15 to 44 years nationwide.
At Health Centers:
- The number of obstetricians, gynecologists, and certified nurse midwives has grown by more than 6% in the past three years.
- In 2018, ~563,000 women received prenatal care. 74% of these women began receiving care during the first trimester.
- In 2018, providers performed more than 172,000 deliveries.
- Case Study: Challenges Related to Pregnancy and Returning to Work after Childbirth in a Rural, Tourism-Dependent Community
- Policy Brief: State Variability in Access to Hospital-Based Obstetric Services in Rural U.S. Counties
- Factors associated with high-risk rural women giving birth in non-NICU hospital settings
- Ensuring Access to High-Quality Maternity Care in Rural America
- The HRSA Strategy to Address IPV (PDF - 428 KB) is a framework for the agency. It addresses IPV and advances our mission.
- Contribution of maternal age and pregnancy checkbox on maternal mortality ratios in the United States, 1978-2012
- Improved ascertainment of pregnancy-associated suicides and homicides in North Carolina
- A new performance measurement system for maternal and child health in the United States
- Discretionary Grant Information System – Users can get data on specific programs or performance measures.
How do we train health care workers?
Our health workforce programs train providers, including physicians and certified nurse midwives. Our loan repayment and scholarship programs support providers of maternal services practicing or planning to practice in underserved areas.
HRSA convened the Maternal Mortality Summit on June 19-21, 2018.