Pregnancy-related mortality in the United States due to hemorrhage: 1979-1992

Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Nov;94(5 Pt 1):721-5. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(99)00396-8.


Objective: To study trends and examine risk factors for pregnancy-related mortality due to hemorrhage.

Methods: We analyzed pregnancy-related deaths from 1979-1992 from the National Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Live-birth data used to calculate mortality ratios were obtained from published vital statistics. Deaths due to ectopic pregnancies were excluded.

Results: There were 763 pregnancy-related deaths from hemorrhage associated with intrauterine pregnancies, a ratio of 1.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. The pregnancy-related mortality ratio was higher for black women and those of other races than white women. The risk of pregnancy-related mortality increased with age. Abruptio placentae was the overall leading cause of pregnancy-related death due to hemorrhage. Leading causes of death differed by race, age group, and pregnancy outcome.

Conclusion: Hemorrhage is the leading cause of pregnancy-related death in the United States. Black women have three times the risk of death of white women. In-depth investigations are needed to ascertain the risk factors associated with those deaths.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / mortality*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology