According to the CDC, over 80% of maternal deaths in the United States are preventable. To prevent these tragic deaths, which are occurring at increasing rates, we must first know why they’re happening.

This year’s Maternal Health Awareness Day theme is Know Why. ACOG's efforts will center around raising awareness about the underlying causes of maternal deaths and emphasizing the critical role that data plays in identifying root causes and creating solutions to eliminate poor maternal health outcomes.

The causes of maternal mortality are numerous, complex, and multifactorial. What are the underlying causes of maternal deaths that most affect the patient population in your community or state? What are the causes that are important to your organization or constituents? There are myriad causes to address, so this year, ACOG invites you to choose your "why," or the cause of maternal mortality that you want to shine a spotlight on. Whatever your "why" may be, the simple act of raising awareness about the causes of death during and after pregnancy moves us one step closer to ending the country’s maternal mortality crisis. Learn more about ACOG's efforts to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, or explore select resources highlighted below.

Want to share your "why?" Download our graphics and use the hashtag #MaternalHealthAwarenessDay to join the conversation on social media.

Observing Maternal Health Awareness Day 2023

This year ACOG will focus on the two leading causes of maternal deaths identified by maternal mortality review committees and recently reported by the CDC: mental health conditions and cardiac and coronary conditions. This focus will highlight how the effort to move toward standardized data can increase our understanding of the maternal mortality crisis and inform our response to it.

Mental Health Conditions

For the first time, mental health conditions were reported as a leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths among white, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native populations. ACOG will raise awareness about perinatal mental health; share resources for patients; and highlight clinician resources aimed at improving patient screening, diagnosis, and referral, such as our perinatal mental health tool kit and AIM's upcoming perinatal mental health patient safety bundle.

Cardiac and Coronary Conditions

Cardiac and coronary conditions, in addition to cardiomyopathy, are major drivers of maternal mortality and are the primary causes of death among Black people. Deaths caused by cardiac and coronary conditions occur mostly during the postpartum period rather than during labor and delivery itself. ACOG will raise awareness around cardiovascular conditions this year and emphasize the need for ongoing coordinated care and health care coverage for a full year after delivery for postpartum people.

About Maternal Health Awareness Day 

In 2016, the New Jersey Section of ACOG joined the Tara Hansen Foundation; the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the New Jersey Medical School; the New Jersey Obstetrical and Gynecological Society; the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; and the New Jersey Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives to request the establishment of a Maternal Health Awareness Day in New Jersey to raise the level of awareness of all New Jersey residents of maternal health issues. This effort came to legislative fruition in 2017, when New Jersey celebrated its first Maternal Health Awareness Day.

Enthusiasm for a District III-wide Maternal Health Awareness Day prompted all Sections within District III to begin educational programs to promote community, patient, and other stakeholder awareness of maternal health risks. Since 2021, ACOG has celebrated Maternal Health Awareness Day at a national level, joined by partners from across the country.

Social Media Tool Kit

Download and share the following graphics to voice your own thoughts on the themes above, and use the following social media posts to tell your followers that you’ll be observing Maternal Health Awareness Day on January 23.

For #MaternalHealthAwarenessDay 2023, we need to Know Why the U.S. maternal mortality crisis is worsening. The causes are numerous and complex, but focusing on even just one can help make a difference. Join us on January 23 in choosing what matters to you!

Understanding the U.S. maternal mortality crisis is the first step toward eliminating preventable maternal deaths. For #MaternalHealthAwarenessDay 2023, we’ll be highlighting the causes of maternal mortality and morbidity that most affect our community. Join us on January 23.

If we Know Why maternal mortality is occurring at increasing rates in the United States, we can move closer to preventing it. For #MaternalHealthAwarenessDay 2023, we’ll join @ACOG on January 23 in raising awareness about the causes of maternal mortality.


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