At Maternal Health Forum, Experts Discuss How to Protect Women From Harm

October 26, 2017

As part of their ongoing investigation into the rise in rates of maternal mortality in the United States versus declining rates around the world, NPR and ProPublica hosted a live event called "Lost Mothers: Key Ways to Improve Maternal Health" on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the Brooklyn Public Library.

In the course of their investigation, ProPublica reporters Nina Martin and Adriana Gallardo, and NPR special correspondent Renee Montagne have identified lack of awareness and transparency as a common factor in cases of maternal mortality. When mothers survive life-threatening complications during childbirth, they often lack complete information about what happened. With these stories nearly invisible, many Americans simply don’t know the problem exists. Therefore taking the conversation from private to public, allowing people to connect with one another, has been an important aspect of the project.

The event, hosted in partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library’s BPL Presents convened a diverse crowd of experts — including doctors, doulas, midwives, nurses, expectant mothers, women who nearly died of childbirth and family members who lost a loved one — to discuss what the health care system can do to protect more women from harm, as well as steps that all of us can take.

Mary D'Alton, MD, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, has contributed to the NPR / ProPublica reporting team's series and was a part of the panel for this event. Dr. D'Alton spoke about ways to get more hospitals to actually implement best practices on maternal care. 

To see video of the full event, visit