From 2006 to 2010, the maternal death rate in the United States rose 63%, from 13.3 deaths per 100,000 live births to 21 deaths per 100,000, placing the U.S. just 50th among developed nations. The top causes for U.S. maternal death are embolism (20%), hemorrhage (17%), preeclampsia and eclampsia (16%), infection (13%) and cardiomyopathy (8%), with cardiovascular disease and pre-existing conditions such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes playing growing roles. As the maternal death rate in the U.S. continues to rise, nurses can help address the problem through collaborative efforts to understand and target underlying causes in their communities, asserts an article in Nursing for Women's Health. State maternal mortality review boards are key avenues for this, as they examine the issue broadly, make recommendations for improvement, and disseminate their recommendations to organizations and individuals for implementation. For interested nurses, if their state does not have an MMRB -- approximately half do not -- working to establish one can be a strong first step, say the authors. Read the abstract.

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