Select Key Metrics on Maternal and Infant Outcomes

pregnancy-related mortality Pregnancy-Related Mortality

A death that occurs during pregnancy or within 1 year of the end of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy.

maternal morbidity Severe Maternal Morbidity

Unanticipated outcomes of labor and delivery that result in short- or long-term consequences to a woman’s health.

birth weight Low Birthweight

Birth of an infant less than 2,500 grams, or about 5.5 pounds. 


Maternal Outcomes 

In Philadelphia, non-Hispanic Black women are about 4 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than are non-Hispanic white women, exceeding disparities in national maternal death rates that are already 2.5 times higher for Black women than for white women.

Non-Hispanic Black women in Philadelphia also experience increased risk of severe maternal morbidity, or adverse pregnancy-related outcomes that have long-term consequences for their health, regardless of insurance type.

Severe Maternal Morbidity by Insurance and Race/Ethnicity

Source: Severe Maternal Morbidity in Philadelphia, 2011-2014, Philadelphia Department of Public Health | 2020

Infant Outcomes 

Disparities in Rates of Infant Mortality and Low Birthweight Births

Source: Health of the City: Philadelphia's Community Health Assessment, Philadelphia Department of Public Health | 2020.

Rates of infant mortality and low birthweight births (< 2,500 grams, or about 5.5 pounds) in Philadelphia are also the highest among Black birthing populations.

Low birthweight reflects both maternal and infant exposure to health risks (for example, poor nutrition, poverty, environmental exposures) and likelihood of current and future morbidity.


These disparities are shaped by systemic forces that reduce Black birthing populations’ access to prenatal carenegatively influence quality of care when it is received, limit opportunities to practice positive health behaviors, and increase exposure to health risks.

Ongoing Efforts in the Philadelphia Community

Keystone Connection to Wellness is a collaborative initiative between Project HOME, Independence Blue Cross, and Keystone First addressing health disparities in life expectancy and infant mortality experienced by residents of North Philadelphia. The initiative aims to bridge gaps in social determinants of health through community engagement and increasing access to services and resources beyond residents’ immediate medical needs.

Through this initiative, expectant mothers in North Philadelphia are participating in Project HOME’s CenteringPregnancy program – a national, evidence-based group prenatal care model. CenteringPregnancy is also offered by Jefferson Health.


The Philadelphia Department of Public Health leads the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) and the OVA (Organizing Voices for Action), which is a structured multidisciplinary community action team formed to carry out recommendations from the MMRC. The OVA is a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders composed of women and birthing people, governmental agencies, health care system professionals, insurance providers, maternal support organizations, policy advocates, social determinants of health professionals, and support networks. Currently the OVA has implementation teams focused on (1) creating and disseminating an educational module for community stakeholders and family support programs about early warning signs of severe maternal morbidity (2) investing in community based women’s health organizations led by women of color and (3) establishing a multidisciplinary OB/Cardiology task force to create and implement standardized treatment algorithms to enhance care for women identified to be at high risk for perinatal cardiovascular complications.


Efforts listed here may be independent of Accelerate Health Equity. Check back to learn about a broader list of health equity efforts.