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  1. Troiano, Nan H. MSN, RNC-OB, NE-BC, C-EFM
  2. Witcher, Patricia M. MSN, RNC-OB


The United States has experienced a steady rise in pregnancy-related deaths over the last 3 decades. The rate of severe maternal morbidity has also increased. It is estimated that approximately 50% of maternal deaths are preventable. National, multidisciplinary, collaborative efforts are required to effectively address this problem. The complex nature of certain conditions and the concomitant risk of significant maternal morbidity and mortality have yielded a subset of women who require obstetric critical care. Institutions and clinicians face challenges as they identify a framework within which to provide this specialized level of care. Systematic, multidisciplinary review of maternal morbidity and mortality events continues to generate meaningful data and recommendations for improvement. The purpose of this article was to describe important concepts related to maternal mortality including the classification and leading causes of maternal death in the United States. The preventability of maternal mortality is also explored including evidence-based best practices and strategies.