Examination of maternal mortality risk factors among pregnant women in the United States: A cross-sectional analysis of BRFSS 2017-2019

Maternal Mortality Risk Factors

  • Mariama Abramson
  • Vanessa Lin
  • Jordyn Austin
  • Marshan Marick
  • Micah Wright
  • Benjamin Greiner
  • Micah Hartwell Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences



Background:  Chronic conditions including hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes mellitus can lead to maternal death. The last study to investigate the prevalence of these risk factors among pregnant women was published in 2011, thus, the objective of this study was to update the literature regarding these risk factors and associated behaviors.

Methods: Combining 2017, 2018, and 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System datasets, we estimated the prevalence of chronic comorbidities, and calculated adjusted odds ratios (AOR) between disease and lifestyle behaviors.

Results: High cholesterol was the most prevalent risk factor—11.2% followed by diabetes at 9.6%. The most behavioral factor related to comorbidities was physical inactivity (28.9%). Age was significantly associated with all three chronic conditions.

Conclusions: Risk factors for childbirth and maternal mortality were more prevalent among women bearing children later in life and Black and Hispanic pregnant women were more likely to have risk factors associated with these conditions.  

Public Health