Maternal mortality in Texas 2001–2006

Larissa Jazia Estes, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Maternal mortality is often used as a measure of health and well being of women across the globe. Improved surveillance efforts at the state level can improve maternal mortality estimates and develop strategies to address the needs of maternal and child health populations. The aims of this study are (1) To provide better estimates of maternal mortality in Texas; (2) To better understand the origin, governance, function, sustainability and impact on policy and practice of maternal mortality review committees at the state level; and (3) To create a comprehensive implementation model for a statewide maternal mortality review committee. Methods. AIM I: Analyzed the enhanced surveillance of fetal death and live birth records linked to pregnancy-related and women of childbearing age (15-44 years) deaths records in Texas from 2001-2006. AIM II: Conduct semi-structured telephone interviews of key informants from states with active maternal mortality review committees. AIM III: Develop a comprehensive maternal mortality review committee implementation model for Texas from the results of AIMS I and II. Results. AIM I: Enhanced surveillance methods identified almost 3.5 times more deaths that may be associated with pregnancy than standard methods. The leading cause of pregnancy-associated death from 2001-2006 among all causes, was accidents. The estimated pregnancy-associated mortality ratio for 2001-2006 was 31 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Enhanced surveillance confirmed a persistent race/ethnicity trend in maternal mortality. AIM II: Key informant interviews confirmed existing literature on maternal mortality review committees. Sustainability was maintained not only by the funding; but also by the dedication of committee members to conducting reviews and disseminating recommendations to improving quality of care and systems. All statewide committees examined preventability of deaths and provided recommendations to policymakers and stakeholders. Statewide committees also took the initiative to develop and implement programs to align healthcare systems and improve quality of care. Conclusion. The comprehensive implementation model for a statewide maternal mortality review committee has the potential to transform the knowledge learned from enhanced surveillance into a systematic effort to evaluate the circumstances surrounding a pregnancy-associated death; influencing policy and practice decisions addressing maternal mortality, women’s health and maternal and child health in Texas.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Estes, Larissa Jazia, "Maternal mortality in Texas 2001–2006" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3464795.