Oct 4 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate recently passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Thom Tillis that would support states in preserving maternal health throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum by addressing disparities in maternal health outcomes and finding solutions to enhance health care quality and outcomes for mothers.

One out of 75 U.S. births tragically result in stillbirths, accounting for nearly 21,000 stillbirths a year—more stillbirths annually than the number of babies who pass during the first year of life.

“Maternal health is a serious issue in North Carolina and across the country with an alarming rise in pregnancy-related deaths,” said Senator Tillis. “We must work to improve maternal health outcomes and support mothers throughout pregnancy and beyond, and I am proud the Senate passed this bipartisan legislation that will increase access to maternal health care, address disparities, and improve outcomes for mothers.” 

Recent reports and data suggest that further reduction in the incidence of stillbirth is possible, highlighting that nearly 25% of stillbirths are potentially preventable. Alarmingly, in our nation, approximately 21,000 babies are stillborn every year. This is greater than the number of babies that die during the first year of life and more than ten times the number of babies that die annually due to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Data comparing the United States to other countries shows that our nation can and must do more to prevent stillbirth. In the last two decades, the stillbirth rate in the United States declined by a negligible 0.4 percent, and, in a report published by the World Health Organization comparing progress in improving stillbirth rates, the United States ranked 183 out of 195 countries.

The Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act of 2023 amends Title V, the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant of the Social Security Act, to clarify that stillbirth prevention activities and research are an allowable use of funds. This clarification will support stillbirth prevention activities, thereby helping to save the lives of mothers and babies.

The Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act is endorsed by Healthy Birth Day, 1st Breath, Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health (formerly 2020 Mom), 2 Degrees Foundation, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), March of Dimes, Measure the Placenta, Mom Congress, PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy, “Reproductive and Placental Research Unit, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine”, Return to Zero: H.O.P.E., Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Every Mother Counts, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), Start Healing Together, M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death), Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI), American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), What to Expect Project, Postpartum Support International, Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE) Foundation, National Education Association (NEA), Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH), Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, SUDC Foundation, and RH Impact.

Full text of the legislation is available here.