Severe Maternal Morbidity Surveillance

The NYC Health Department tracks and monitors cases of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) — defined as life-threatening complications during or after childbirth — throughout the city. Our surveillance is based on matching birth certificate data to hospital discharge records from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System for all NYC hospital deliveries.

SMM is identified during delivery hospitalizations based on the CDC definition. This definition includes 25 indicators representing either serious complications of pregnancy or delivery, such as eclampsia and acute renal failure, or procedures used to manage these serious conditions, such as blood transfusions.

Our reports document:

  • Rates of life-threating complications during delivery
  • Leading indicators of SMM
  • Background demographic characteristics

Surveillance data are used to identify potential changes in SMM rates throughout the city, highlight disparities that may be present and inform policies and procedures aimed at improving maternal health.

The first report, Severe Maternal Morbidity in New York City, 2008–2012 (PDF) was released in 2016. We have since released data for 2013–2014:

Severe Maternal Morbidity Project Toolkit

Additional Resources

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