MUIORWH Associate Director for Science Policy, Planning, and Analysis Samia Noursi, Ph.D.; ORWH Director Janine A. Clayton, M.D.; and colleagues recently published “The Intersection of Maternal Morbidity and Mortality and Intimate Partner Violence in the United States” (Noursi et al. 2020. Curr. Womens Health Rev. 16: 1–15). The article describes how research on U.S. rates of maternal morbidity and mortality (MMM)—which are higher than those of other high-income nations, disproportionately so among racial and ethnic minority populations—typically concentrates on often preventable obstetrical problems. However, intimate partner violence (IPV) has also been linked to MMM, an association receiving only infrequent consideration by academic researchers. 

Dr. Noursi and colleagues intensively analyzed 137 research articles that met inclusion criteria and that examined the intersection of IPV and MMM in the United States, associated social determinants of health, the limitations of data collection in this area, and related topics. The authors conclude that the relationship between IPV and MMM has not been researched thoroughly, resulting in considerable knowledge gaps. The investigators recommend that local maternal mortality review committees and administrators of the Maternal Mortality Review Information Application system adopt new practices to improve data collection on IPV- and pregnancy-associated deaths.

For more information on MMM in the United States and efforts at NIH and elsewhere to research and mitigate the problem, visit the NIH MMM web portal