Mothers Center Focuses on Outcomes for Both Mother and Child


Avichai Assouline

For most of human history, childbirth has been a dangerous venture for women. At the beginning of the 20th century, about 600 women per 100,000 died from childbirth, and the rate did not start to decline substantially until the 1930s when antibiotics became available. By the 1980s, mortality from childbirth in the United States reached its lowest point, about seven deaths for every 100,000 births. 

But over the past 30 years the numbers of maternal deaths in the United States has doubled, partly due to an increase in the numbers of women getting pregnant at an older age while having more chronic medical conditions such as congenital heart disease, obesity, chronic hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, or psychiatric issues. 

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At least 700 women die every year from pregnancy or childbirth complications in the United States, and many more suffer severe complications. According to an analysis published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecologythe maternal death rate increased by 27 percent in 48 states from 2000 to 2014. 

VP&S began the Mothers Center program in 2013 to provide multidisciplinary care and management for expectant mothers who have significant medical and surgical complications. “For many years innovation in maternal-fetal medicine had been focused mostly on the fetus, and we felt we needed to do the same for mom,” says Mary D’Alton, MD, chair of obstetrics & gynecology and the Willard C. Rappleye Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at VP&S. 

Five years later, the Mothers Center, the only center of its kind in the United States designed especially to deliver multidisciplinary care to women with maternal risk, moved into its own dedicated and innovative space that centralizes services that had been scattered throughout the medical center. The new location, co-located with the Carmen and John Thain Center for Prenatal Pediatrics, allows the center to provide coordinated, multidisciplinary care in one location to more at-risk women during their pregnancies. 

“Our goal is to both centralize the care for these women so they don’t have to navigate their way around the medical center and to enhance collaboration across the specialties,” says Leslie Moroz, MD, director of the Mothers Center. “We believe this dedicated space for optimizing a mother’s health will lead to better outcomes both for the mothers and their babies.” 

The Mothers Center may be reached by calling 844-666-2687.