Remember the Mothers: US maternal deaths & the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project

Did you know that the United States ranks 60th in global maternal health?


Did you know that every 2 minutes a woman loses her life in pregnancy and childbirth?


The CDC estimates that our actual maternal death rate is 1.3 times HIGHER than what’s reported in statistics because of underreporting. Reporting maternal deaths is on the honor system. There are no penalties for misreporting or failing to report maternal deaths. Too many go unnoticed. Those poor mothers and their families.


The CDC estimates that more than half of the reported maternal deaths in the US could have been prevented by early diagnosis and treatment. African American women in the United States have 4 times the risk of dying from childbirth or childbirth related complications. Hispanic women in the United States, similarly, are 1.6 times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to die from pregnancy-related causes.


The United States is one of the richest countries in the world and has among the poorest outcomes when it comes to maternal health.

Safe Motherhood Quilt and US maternal deaths

Ina May Gaskin, midwifery pioneer, started the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project in 1982 to raise awareness for this cause. It’s a national effort national to bring attention to the current maternal death rates and the gross under reporting of maternal deaths in the United States, and to honor those women who have died of pregnancy-related causes.

Each block on the quilt is dedicated to a woman that has died of pregnancy-related causes in the US. The quilt is the voice for these women who can no longer speak. Do you know someone you’d like to remember and honor? They must have died complications from pregnancy or birth since 1982, within at least one-year from the end of their pregnancy. Go here for more information on creating and submitting a square for the Safe Motherhood Quilt.

Safe Motherhood Quilt Project for US  maternal deaths

WANT TO SEE IT? The Quilt travels! There’s a showing of the Safe Motherhood Quilt in Chicago THIS WEEKEND. Go to their Facebook event page for more details and to RSVP.

When: Friday May 9th – Sunday May 11th
Where: Mother Me Inc at 4654 North Rockwell, Chicago, Illinois 60625
What: see the amazing quilt, hear stories of the women we’re remembering, enter to win some AMAZING raffle items, have some snacks and refreshments, and have a good time!

Friday, May 9th, 6-9pm: opening wine and cheese reception

Saturday, May 10th, 10am-5pm: guest speaker Robert Biter OB/GYN at 3pm (“When Birth and Death Collide: Preserving the Sacred and Protecting Ourselves”), panel discussion at 4pm

Sunday, May 11th, 12-5pm: henna and tune-up massages from 2-4pm, closing mother blessing at 4pm

Future showings: Minooka, IL, on June 21st and West Dundee, IL, on June 28th (watch for more details on those)

Safe Motherhood Quilt Project for US  maternal deathsPhotos from The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project’s Facebook page

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