Maternal Sepsis Initiative
Mother cradles infant

Maternal Sepsis Initiative.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal death in the developed world.(1) What’s more, the U.S. is the only developed country where maternal mortality rates are rising rather than falling.(2) Black women are three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related issues than white women. (3) Maternal sepsis is the second leading cause of pregnancy-related death in the United States.

In 2019, END SEPSIS was awarded a contract by the Department of Health and Human Services’ BARDA DRIVe program to develop an initiative address the maternal sepsis crisis.

The work has ultimately resulted in the develop of educational resources for women’s health providers and in the End Maternal Sepsis campaign to educate pregnant people on the condition and its risk factors. Visit the campaign page here: End Maternal Sepsis.

New York State Department of Health Collaboration.

In collaboration with END SEPSIS, the New York State Department of Health created a dataset that documented cases of maternal sepsis in New York State from 2016 to 2018. By merging data from the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS) and Vital Statistics datasets, the NYSDOH was able to identify potential at-risk populations by analyzing associations between hospitalizations for maternal sepsis and hospital and patient characteristics. The study analyzed both live births and stillbirths and investigated the following factors:

  • Demographics
  • Hospital Characteristics
  • Comorbidities
  • Delivery/Obstetric Characteristics

Findings of note include:

  • Women under 20 years old at the time of birth had significantly higher odds of developing maternal sepsis than women ages 20-35.
  • All women with an education level below a four-year college degree had significantly higher odds of developing maternal sepsis across all windows. This is more pronounced among women with less than a high school education.
  • Black, Hispanic, and Asian women had significantly higher odds of developing maternal sepsis compared to White women.
    • Hispanic women are more than twice as likely as White women to develop maternal sepsis
    • Black women are nearly twice as likely as White women to develop maternal sepsis
    • Asian Women are almost 1.5 times as likely  as White women to develop maternal sepsis
  • Women with C-sections had significantly increased odds of sepsis during delivery and postpartum.

A continuum of care was developed to identify opportunities for intervention to help prevent, identify and rapidly treat maternal sepsis. This work is being used to help clinicians, nurses, hospital administrators, birth workers and others engaged in the care of pregnant and postpartum women better serve their patients. It is also a powerful tool for remedying the severe inequities in maternal care in New York State and beyond.

For more information on the New York State data analysis and findings, visit our NYS Data Analysis regarding maternal sepsis.

Maternal Sepsis Coalition.

Our maternal sepsis work is supported by a multi-sector coalition of state and federal organizations, government agencies, and nonprofits invested in improving outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women. These include:

Maternal Sepsis Patient and Provider Education.

In addition to the public awareness and education materials included above, END SEPSIS and its coalition partners developed two webinars for maternal health providers covering the findings of risk factor analysis and continuum of care. These webinars are now available on demand and are eligible for Continuing Medical Education credits. You can view them here NYS Data Analysis. We also created brochures and fact sheets to share the new data and encourage all women’s health providers, including obstetricians, nurses, midwives and doulas to know the signs of maternal sepsis.

To educate pregnant people and new mothers, END SEPSIS create the End Maternal Sepsis campaign, developing a vivid, engaging and urgent marketing campaign including a public service announcement, electronic brochures and fact sheets and social media assets. END SEPSIS currently deploys these resources in a targeted and strategic paid digital campaign. We focus on reaching pregnant women and new moms with a special focus on women of color and young women, educating them about the signs and symptoms of maternal sepsis, sharing risk factors and encouraging self advocacy in medical settings. Visit our End Maternal Sepsis page to get involved.


Provider Webinars.

WEBINAR 1. –  Maternal Sepsis: New Data, New Approaches to Improving Care.

On June 9th, 2021, END SEPSIS, the New York State Department of Health and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) presented a webinar focused on methods used and major findings from the NYSDOH analyses.  In addition, speakers from ACOG discussed relevant bundles and recognition and treatment for this population. You can view the complete webinar by clicking the video below or click here. You can apply for CE credits for attending the webinar. The application information is posted below the webinar.


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WEBINAR 2  –Maternal Sepsis in New York State: Using New Data to Inform Practice

On September 13th, World Sepsis Day, END SEPSIS, Northwell Health and the New York State Department of Health presented a webinar that explored how the new data on maternal sepsis in New York State can guide efforts to improve maternal sepsis prevention and identification. We heard from experts from the midwifery, doula and clinical fields and data scientists from NYS Department of Health. You can view the webinar below. CE credits are available and the information appears below the video.



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The END SEPSIS Maternal Sepsis Initiative is funded is part by: