Legislature approves funds to review maternal deaths

Legislature approves funds to review maternal deaths

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Legislature has approved nearly half a million dollars to investigate deaths from childbirth and pregnancy complications in the state.

The money approved in the state’s budget last week will fund a committee that is reviewing autopsies and medical records of women who died from childbirth complications, AL.com’s Anna Clair Vollers reported. The funding is in the state’s new budget awaiting Gov. Kay Ivey’s signature.

“Until we have a thorough review of the maternal death data, we can’t answer the all-important question of ‘why’ when a mother dies,” said Dr. John Meigs, the president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the number of pregnancy-related deaths in the state has increased by more than six times between 2014 and 2017.

Britta Cedergren, director of maternal child health for March of Dimes in Alabama, said the funding is critical since Alabama has “some of the highest rates of preterm birth and infant mortality in the nation.”

Alabama’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which was launched early last year, also will make recommendations for improving maternal health.

California launched a similar committee in 2006, and has seen its maternal mortality rate decline by 55% from 2006 to 2013, according to the state’s Health Department.

The state medical association also launched a maternal mortality awareness campaign earlier this year.