Maternal Health

Maternal health requires urgent action.

Maternal* morbidity and mortality in the United States are unacceptably high, reflect stark racial and other inequities, and are largely preventable. Immediate action is needed to achieve optimal maternal health.

Raising the Bar will apply its framework to maternal and newborn health to demonstrate how healthcare can improve care delivery in ways that respond to people’s individual needs, address bias and discrimination, and improve the quality of services.

Learn more about maternal health guidance

What is “Optimal Maternal Health”?

Optimal maternal health encompasses the health and well-being of a birthing person and infant. It involves physical, mental, and social well-being before, during, and after the physiologic process of childbearing. Furthermore, it encompasses reproductive justice, personal agency, and bodily autonomy of all birthing people, and freedom from bias, racism, and discrimination.

*Raising the Bar recognizes and respects that pregnant, birthing, postpartum, and parenting people have a range of gender identities, and do not always identify as “women” or “mothers.” In recognition of the diversity of identities, this series prioritizes the use of gender-neutral terms where possible, such as “people,” “pregnant people,” and “birthing persons.”