State finds majority of maternal deaths preventable

While the number of maternal deaths decreased in Tennessee, 79% of pregnancy-related deaths were found to be preventable. The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth found that cardiovascular and coronary conditions are the leading causes of maternal mortality while more than one-in-three maternal deaths had substance abuse as a contributing factor. One in six deaths of pregnant women were classified as intentional and violent, three of five involving a firearm. An estimated of 61% of maternal deaths occurred within the first year after the birth of a child with the mortality rate of pregnant women on TennCare 2.5 times higher than those covered by private insurance. The state is launching a new pilot program that intends to extend TennCare benefits to prevent maternal deaths during birth or up to a year after birth.