State launches website to prevent pregnancy-related deaths

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 12:26 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN (WNEM) - A new website provides potentially life-saving information about maternal health warning signs.

Hear Her Michigan, created by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Maternal Mortality Surveillance (MMMS) program, is a website dedicated to preventing pregnancy-related deaths.

The CDC defines a pregnancy-related death as when a woman dies during pregnancy, or within one year of the end of a pregnancy from a pregnancy complication.

According to the CDC, a pregnancy complication is a chain of events initiated by pregnancy or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.

“The loss of one mother is one too many,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “MDHHS is committed to helping prevent maternal mortality and morbidity in our state through education, resources and awareness. This campaign is also dedicated to encouraging everyone, including health care professionals, caregivers, friends and family, to listen and act when pregnant and postpartum persons say something that doesn’t feel right. We all have a role to play in preventing maternal deaths.”

According to the MDHHS, more than 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications up to one year after giving birth in the United States. Michigan averages 25 cases of pregnancy-related deaths each year, the MDHHS said, adding of those deaths, approximately six of every 10 deaths are preventable.

MMMS data shows the most common causes of pregnancy-related death are due to hypertensive disorders and hemorrhage. These data also indicated that Black women were 2.8 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, the MDHHS added.

Warning signs include:

  • Headache that won’t go away or gets worse over time
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby
  • Changes in vision
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain or fast-beating heart
  • Severe belly pain that doesn’t go away
  • Severe nausea and throwing up (not like morning sickness)
  • Baby’s movements stopping or slowing
  • Vaginal bleeding or fluid leaking during or after pregnancy
  • Swelling, redness or pain in legs
  • Extreme swelling of hands or face
  • Overwhelming tiredness

To learn about urgent maternal warning signs and find out how you can help on the Hear Her Michigan website.

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