Researchers publish article on data collection of maternal mortality due to violence
Jennifer Miller, director of the Kansas State University bachelor's degree in public health program, and Susan Rensing, teaching associate professor in gender, women and sexuality studies, were recently published in the Journal of Women's Health. Their research, "Integrating National Violent Death Reporting System Data into Maternal Mortality Review Committees," examined the NVDRS-RAD data from 2014 to 2017 and argues that the data for pregnancy-associated maternal deaths should be integrated into the work of Maternal Mortality Review Committees.
With the Maternal Mortality Review Information Application (MMRIA) data system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alongside Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs), are developing comprehensive and uniform data collection to eradicate preventable maternal deaths. However, MMRIA is primarily focused on pregnancy-related deaths, and not pregnancy-associated deaths. Currently, the National Violent Death Reporting System Restricted Access Data on pregnancy-associated homicides and suicides are not included in MMRIA and by extension the work of most MMRCs.
"To effectively address maternal mortality in the United States, pregnancy-associated maternal deaths caused by violent or self-inflicted harm must be thoroughly reviewed," stated Miller and Rensing. "To do this, MMRCs should seek to identify all contributing factors at the individual, provider, facility, system, and community levels. Directly linking data with MMRIA data would allow for review that is more efficient and could reduce barriers to seeing the full picture of what occurred during a violent maternal death."
Following their research, Miller and Rensing shared that integrating National Violent Death Reporting System data on pregnancy-associated deaths into MMRIA would improve the efficacy of MMRCs and address the intertwined risk factors driving the racial disparities of the United States' maternal mortality rate. "The results of this study show an increased risk for pregnancy-associated homicide and suicide during pregnancy and the postpartum period," said Journal of Women's Health Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Susan G. Kornstein. "The late postpartum and pregnancy periods showed increased risk of interpersonal violence-related homicide. These may be areas to target for risk reduction interventions."