State Readies Review of Maternal Mortality

Feb 21, 2019

Lawmakers and administration officials in Richmond are working together to try to reduce the number of women dying in childbirth.

Virginia’s Department of Health is about to get a new maternal mortality review team — an effort to do something about the disproportionate number of African-American women who die in childbirth.

Delegate Chris Stolle is a Republican from Virginia Beach and also an OBGYN.

“We know that women die, but we haven’t really done a deep dive into why this occurs and so this will actually look at reviewing records associated with the death. We’ll be able to take that information and see if there are particular areas that are at higher risk for maternal mortality.”

The governor’s administration also has a new focus on this issue, the result of Northam’s call to Cabinet officials to address inequality.

Delegate Cia Price tried -- and failed -- to pass a resolution recognizing the maternal mortality crisis. She says she tried to get the administration to focus on this before the scandal.

“And at that time it did not seem like as high of a priority. But I’m glad to know that now that a photo has been uncovered we’ll now listen to the fact that black women are dying.”

The new maternal mortality review team will review the rate of pregnancy-related deaths, identify risk factors and develop recommendations for the future.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.