The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this week that based on the latest data on pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S., about 80% of the cases were actually preventable.

The public health agency published Monday the data on 1,018 pregnancy-related deaths among residents of 36 states from 2017-2019 collected through the Maternal Mortality Review Information Application (MMRIA).

Based on the report that cited information from clinical and non-clinical settings, including vital records, medical records and social service records, four in five pregnancy-related fatalities were preventable during the period.

“Among deaths for which timing in relation to pregnancy is known, approximately 22% of deaths occurred during pregnancy, 25% occurred on the day of delivery (within 24 hours of the end of pregnancy) or within a week after delivery, 23% occurred from 7 to 42 days postpartum, and 30% occurred in the late postpartum period,” the Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) indicated in the report.

CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion director Wanda Barfield said the latest data showed the need for the country to improve the initiatives involving pregnant and postpartum moms and the healthcare services for them.

“The report paints a much clearer picture of pregnancy-related deaths in this country. The majority of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable, highlighting the need for quality improvement initiatives in states, hospitals, and communities that ensure all people who are pregnant or postpartum get the right care at the right time,” Barfield said in a statement.

The CDC said everyone could help prevent pregnancy-related deaths by spreading awareness. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to ask their patients if they have been pregnant in the last year for better diagnosis and treatment decisions.

Families, support systems, communities and healthcare systems are also recommended to engage in discussions about serious pregnancy-related complications that can happen during and after pregnancy.

As for the MMRCs, they suggested providing wider access to insurance coverage to improve prenatal care initiation and follow-up services after pregnancy.