Maternal Sepsis Initiative
Maternal Sepsis Initiative

In late 2019, END SEPSIS was awarded a federal government contract to address the maternal sepsis crisis in New York State and beyond. The United States has the highest rate of maternal death of any industrialized country and maternal sepsis is the third leading cause of pregnancy-related death. The initiative is funded in part with federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe). BARDA DRIVe seeks to leverage public-private partnerships to address pressing health security challenges.

Why Maternal Sepsis?
We have made it our mission to end preventable deaths from sepsis–including for new and expectant mothers. No woman should die as a result of pregnancy and birth–and no baby should be left motherless.

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, despite spending more than any other country on hospital-based maternity care.(1) It is the only developed country where mortality rates are rising rather than falling. Over the past two decades, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the US has doubled, with black women three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related issues than white women. (2) According to the CDC, the majority of these deaths are preventable. (3)

Maternal Sepsis is the third leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States and globally; nearly a quarter of all pregnancy-related deaths are sepsis-related with studies showing that the rates of maternal sepsis are increasing. (4)

Read the story of April, a maternal sepsis survivor and member of our National Family Council on Sepsis.

About the Initiative
The END SEPSIS maternal sepsis initiative will be launched in late 2020. It is designed to reduce the devastating impact of maternal sepsis on the lives of women, their babies, and their families through the creation and dissemination of education and awareness resources to pregnant women, new mothers, and women’s healthcare providers.

Through a partnership with New York State’s Department of Health, we are identifying and analyzing the risk factors associated with maternal sepsis, including the demographic characteristics, co-morbidities, and obstetric procedures that place some women at higher risk of developing sepsis. This work will be an unparalleled resource in informing public policies, improving delivery of care to new and expectant mothers, and guiding education and awareness activities for patients and providers.

At the same time, we have convened a multi-sector coalition of state and federal organizations, government agencies, and nonprofits invested in improving outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women. Working with our coalition, and incorporating the findings from New York State Department of Health’s analysis, we are developing an awareness campaign that will educate women and their healthcare providers about the dangers, signs, and risk factors associated with maternal sepsis. It will encourage women and their families to be informed and confident advocates for their care.

Along with information about the risks and signs of maternal sepsis, we will educate new parents about sepsis more generally, enabling them to protect their growing families.

As our initiative gets underway, we’ll keep you posted on the latest developments and on how you can get involved. We look forward to sharing resources and milestones as we embark on this vital work to save lives from sepsis.

Get the facts about maternal sepsis on our resource page.