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Legislative Report Finds that 92% of Arkansas’ Pregnancy-Related Deaths May Have Been Preventable

Legislative Report Finds that 92% of Arkansas’ Pregnancy-Related Deaths May Have Been Preventable

Over 90% of pregnancy-related deaths in Arkansas were likely preventable, a new legislative report finds. The Arkansas Maternal Mortality Review Committee sets forth recommendations to combat this troubling trend.

According to a December 2023 report published by the Arkansas Maternal Mortality Review Committee, 92% of pregnancy-related deaths in Arkansas between 2018 and 2020 were likely preventable. Other key findings of the report include the many factors contributing to maternal death such as race and ethnicity, age, education, cause of death, timing of death, source of payment, and geographic location. 

The report indicated that non-Hispanic Black women and non-Hispanic Asian-American/Pacific Islander women were disproportionately impacted by pregnancy-related deaths, with non-Hispanic Black women almost twice as likely to experience pregnancy-related deaths than non-Hispanic White women. Women with a high school education or less had a higher pregnancy-related mortality rate than women educated beyond high school. Furthermore, women residing in in Southwest Arkansas experienced the highest pregnancy-related death rate in the state, at 46.6 deaths per 100,000 live births. Causes of death varied but the top five underlying causes were found to be disorders that affect the heart muscle, cardiovascular conditions, hypertensive disorders, infection, and hemorrhage.  The report concluded that 35 out of the 38 pregnancy-related deaths analyzed (92%) were potentially preventable, meaning that “there was at least some chance of the death being averted by one or more reasonable changes to patient, family, provider, facility, system and/or contributing factors.”

This shocking report sheds light on the dire maternal death crisis that has plagued the United States for years, begging answers to questions of what can be done to combat these tragedies. Analysis of the Arkansas data resulted in Committee recommendations of:

  • increased awareness among patients and their families in recognizing critical warning signs during pregnancy and up to a year after giving birth
  • increasing access to health care services during preconception, pregnancy, the year after pregnancy, and time between pregnancies to promote maternal health
  • augmenting Arkansas Medicaid maternal coverage to one year postpartum instead of 60 days
  • prioritizing screening for cardiovascular diseases
  • training for maternal care staff on recognizing symptoms that require urgent attention, and establishing a clear chain of command in addressing them

Digging into the reasons behind why Arkansas has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country is critical to reversing the trend. Addressing the risks throughout a woman’s entire pregnancy journey may help more Arkansas mothers live and thrive.

Do You Suspect Your Loved One Died as a Result of Medical Negligence?

If you believe your loved one died due to medical negligence during her pregnancy, labor, childbirth or the postpartum period, consider speaking to an experienced and compassionate birth injury attorney. The birth injury attorneys at Grant & Eisenhofer can help you understand your potential legal options, if any, and answer any questions you may have.

Call us at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We represent families nationwide and have offices in Chicago IL, Baltimore MD, New York NY, and Wilmington DE.