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Journal of Georgia Public Health Association







The U.S. is currently one of thirteen countries where maternal mortality rates (MMR) is worse now than it was fifteen years ago. Reducing maternal mortality is one of the significant challenges facing the health system in the United States, especially in the State of Georgia, which has one of the highest MMR in the nation. The purpose of this review is to explore the causes, policy, and ethical contextual factors contributing to increased maternal mortality rates among African American women in the State of Georgia. Also, identifying and addressing weaknesses and gaps that exist in the healthcare system and recommending policy implications to seek to reduce the MMR.


This study conducted a comprehensive literature review from the online database and also used data from CDC Wonder, OASIS Georgia, and Georgia Department of Public Health website to identify the primary antecedents of elevated MMR among African American women in the State of Georgia with specific attention to policy and ethical considerations.


This review found factors that were related to causes of maternal death in the U.S. include socioeconomic status, communication between patient and healthcare provider, and maternal medical conditions and complications during pregnancy. In the State of Georgia, complications during pregnancy and cardiomyopathy were the leading cause of MMR, particularly among African American women in comparison with other races. However, inconsistency in reporting maternal death data was another issue that is discussed in this review.


Policies that incorporate ethical considerations need to be developed to benefit the family and society. Policymakers should seek to develop targeted policies in support of specific vulnerable populations through improving maternal screening, health promotion, behavior uptake, and effective case management.


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.