From the Field: The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project

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PROJECT TITLE

The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project

NAME OF ORGANIZATION, AGENCY, OR INSTITUTION

The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project

PRIMARY CONTACT NAME AND TITLE

Laura Gilkey, Marketing Director

PROJECT AIM AND GOALS

The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, originated by midwife Ina May Gaskin, is a national effort developed to draw public attention to the current maternal death rates, as well as to the gross underreporting of maternal deaths in the United States. The Quilt honors American mothers who have died of pregnancy or childbirth related causes since 1982, the last year there was a reduction in maternal mortality.

The goal of the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project is to demand an equivalent system of counting, analyzing, and learning from mistakes made in our maternity care system here, regardless of where babies are born or what caregiver is the birth attendant. Until we do that, doctors, midwives, and nurses in the US will continue to work without a good system of feedback about what is and is not dangerous in maternity care, and preventable maternal deaths will continue to take place.

We are currently focused on accomplishing the following five steps:

  1. Make every one of the fifty states use the US Standard Death Certificate, so that for the first time in our history, we would have consistency in how data on maternal death is gathered.
  2. Create effective penalties for misreporting, misclassifying, or falsifying information on death certificates.
  3. Create and require training programs for doctors and anyone else authorized to fill in a death certificate in maternity hospitals.
  4. Pass legislation at the national level to provide confidentiality to state maternal mortality review committees.
  5. Require that insurance companies pay for an autopsy following the death of a woman of childbearing age in every case where the family agrees to the autopsy, to help contribute to research that will prevent deaths in the future.
Once these steps are complete, we believe the path to reducing maternal mortality will be made much more clear.

BLUEPRINT AREA(S) ADDRESSED

STRATEGIES USED

RESULTS

We are currently in the process of building a comprehensive new website and compiling data from each state.

Articles About the Project

My Wife Died After Giving Birth (PDF)

Ina May Gaskin and the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project (Mothering)

THE HEALTHY MOTHERS HEALTHY BIRTH SUMMIT: Addressing Maternal Mortality as a Community Part 2: Summary (Science & Sensibility, (04/25/11)

Website

http://www.rememberthemothers.org

TOOLKIT FOR PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION OR REPLICATION

http://rememberthemothers.org/submit.html

A donation to The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project will be used to expand our quilt project through the production of additional squares for the quilt, as well as a public information campaign designed to raise awareness of the current maternal death rate and a statistical research project.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you would like to join the research team for this project please email laura@kangaroopromotions.net.

Filed in Clinical audit, case review, or analysis of adverse events, Clinical controversies, Community education/outreach, Consumer advocacy or political action, Disparities, Educational materials for health professionals, Health information technology, Improved liability system, Performance measurement, Performance measurement/reporting, Stories from the Field, Team building on Mon., Sep 12, 2011

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