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MDHHS launches new website to increase awareness of urgent maternal health warning signs

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Maternal Mortality Surveillance (MMMS) program has launched a new website dedicated to preventing pregnancy-related deaths. Hear Her Michigan provides potentially life-saving messages about urgent maternal health warning signs.

“The loss of one mother is one too many,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “MDHHS is committed to helping prevent maternal mortality and morbidity in our state through education, resources and awareness. This campaign is also dedicated to encouraging everyone, including health care professionals, caregivers, friends and family, to listen and act when pregnant and postpartum persons say something that doesn’t feel right. We all have a role to play in preventing maternal deaths.”

A pregnancy-related death is defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy from a pregnancy complication, a chain of events initiated by pregnancy or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.

Each year in the United States, more than 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications up to one year after giving birth. Michigan averages 25 cases of pregnancy-related death each year and of these deaths, approximately six of every 10 are preventable. MMMS data reveals that the most common causes of pregnancy-related death are due to hypertensive disorders and hemorrhage. These data also indicated that Black women were 2.8 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.

Warning signs include:

  • Headache that won’t go away or gets worse over time.
  • Dizziness or fainting.
  • Thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby.
  • Changes in vision.
  • Fever.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Chest pain or fast-beating heart.
  • Severe belly pain that doesn’t go away.
  • Severe nausea and throwing up (not like morning sickness).
  • Baby’s movements stopping or slowing.
  • Vaginal bleeding or fluid leaking during or after pregnancy.
  • Swelling, redness or pain in legs.
  • Extreme swelling of hands or face.
  • Overwhelming tiredness.

The website is part of additional efforts by the state to address maternal and infant health and equity. The Gov. Gretchen Whitmer-supported Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative that began in 2021 includes the expansion of postpartum Medicaid coverage, the addition of Medicaid doula services and the implementation and expansion of evidence-based home visiting programs. The FY24 budget includes more than $68 million to expanding evidence-based services to improve outcomes by addressing inequity.

Learn about urgent maternal warning signs and discover how you can help at

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