Donald School Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

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VOLUME 17 , ISSUE 1 ( January-March, 2023 ) > List of Articles


The Ethical Obligation to Prevent Maternal Mortality during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Amos Grunebaum, Frank A Chervenak

Keywords : COVID-19, Hemorrhage, Maternal deaths, Mental health, Maternal mortality, Preeclampsia, Thromboembolism, United States

Citation Information : Grunebaum A, Chervenak FA. The Ethical Obligation to Prevent Maternal Mortality during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond. Donald School J Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2023; 17 (1):67-70.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10009-1961

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 14-04-2023

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2023; The Author(s).


The United States of America (USA) has the highest maternal mortality rate of all high-income countries, with over 80% found to be preventable. After leveling off around 2015, maternal mortality rates in the USA further increased due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) related deaths starting in 2020 by about 20% from about 17–18/100,000 live births to about 24/100,000 live births with about one in seven maternal deaths due to COVID-19 infections. The vast majority of COVID-19-related maternal deaths were among unvaccinated pregnant patients. A total of 11% of postpartum maternal deaths were found to be associated with mental health issues, with the remainder usually due to medical issues such as hemorrhage and hypertension. As physicians, we have the ethical obligation to address perinatal and maternal mortality, especially preventable maternal mortalities, reduce the discrepancy between different races and ethnicities, recommend COVID-19 vaccinations, and develop approaches to address the causes.

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