- In Colorado, the majority of maternal deaths were due to accidental overdose and suicide; 90% of deaths occurred in the postpartum period.
Why this matters
- Improved monitoring and psychiatric treatment is needed to reduce the death rate in the postpartum period.
- Universal screening at prenatal, hospital, and postpartum visit may improve detection rates.
- 211 maternal deaths were recorded during the study period.
- 30% of deaths were classified as "maternal death by self-harm (accidental overdose or suicide)".
- The most common detected class of drugs were opioids.
- History of drug abuse was documented in 16.9%, prior psychiatric diagnosis documented in 54.2%, and prior suicide attempt documented in 10.2% of records of women with maternal death.
- In 22.0% no risk factors were documented.
- Case study of all women with pregnancy-associated deaths (during pregnancy or 1 y postpartum) from self-harm in Colorado from 2004 to 2012.
- Funding: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Research Resources Colorado CTSI, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development.
- Not all prenatal records were available.