Joint Commission Alert: Preventing deaths during, after pregnancy

Pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure are putting women at greater risk for death during or shortly after pregnancy, according to a Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert.

 The most current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that there are 13.3 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, well over the target of 3.3 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births set as part of the U.S. government’s Healthy People 2010 initiative. Common preventable causes that lead to maternal deaths include uncontrolled high blood pressure, undiagnosed fluid build-up in the lungs of women with pre-eclampsia, failure to pay attention to vital signs after a Cesarean section, and hemorrhage following a Cesarean section.

(SOURCES: Joint Commission’s Annual Report on Quality, The Joint Commission,, January 26, 2010 )