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Putting the “M” back in maternal-fetal medicine: A 5-year report card on a collaborative effort to address maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States

Published:March 05, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2019.02.055
      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have demonstrated continuous increased risk for maternal mortality and severe morbidity with racial disparities among non-Hispanic black women an important contributing factor. More than 50,000 women experienced severe maternal morbidity in 2014, with a mortality rate of 18.0 per 100,000, higher than in many other developed countries. In 2012, the first “Putting the ‘M’ back in Maternal-Fetal Medicine” session was held at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s (SMFM) Annual Meeting. With the realization that rising risk for severe maternal morbidity and mortality required action, the “M in MFM” meeting identified the following urgent needs: (i) to enhance education and training in maternal care for maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) fellows; (ii) to improve the medical care and management of pregnant women across the country; and (iii) to address critical research gaps in maternal medicine. Since that first meeting, a broad collaborative effort has made a number of major steps forward, including the proliferation of maternal mortality review committees, advances in research, increasing educational focus on maternal critical care, and development of comprehensive clinical strategies to reduce maternal risk. Five years later, the 2017 M in MFM meeting served as a “report card” looking back at progress made but also looking forward to what needs to be done over the next 5 years, given that too many mothers still experience preventable harm and adverse outcomes.

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