Within the past few decades, astounding advancements in technology and healthcare have been made. From noninvasive surgical procedures never before possible, to developing the Covid-19 vaccine at record speed, these advancements in modern medicine have undoubtedly played a role in increasing life expectancy and quality of life (STFC). However, the following statistic sheds light upon one healthcare trend that has yet to improve: The CDC reports that since the Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System was implemented, “...the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths in the United States steadily increased from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 17.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017 (the latest available year of data).” In a report published by the American Journal of Managed Care, the U.S. ranks worst among 10 other developed nations in terms of maternal care. Additionally, the report stated that maternal deaths in the United States have been on the rise since 2000, and of the approximate 700 pregnancy-related deaths occurring each year, two-thirds of these deaths are considered to be preventable.
As many innovations are currently in development with the goal of bettering the future of healthcare, decreasing the U.S. maternal mortality rate should be a focus for many, especially when it comes to simulation. Several studies have found that including simulation in obstetric instruction has been proven to be effective in reducing complications that can lead to maternal morbidity or death, such as umbilical cord prolapse, postpartum hemorrhage, and incidence of third- and fourth-degree lacerations in forceps deliveries (Contemporary OB/GYN). There has also been evidence that points to simulation improving practical skills, teamwork, and communication, which can have drastic effects in improving maternal care, as it is reported that miscommunication plays a factor in over 70% of harmful or deadly events during delivery (Contemporary OB/GYN).
Not only does simulation have the power to improve technical outcomes during deliveries, and therefore improve maternal mortality rate, but simulation can also be used to tackle the racial disparities that plague the already devastating data behind maternal mortality rates. During 2014–2017 (latest available year of data), the CDC reported the following data for pregnancy-related mortality ratios:
- 41.7 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic Black women.
- 28.3 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native women.
- 13.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander women.
- 13.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic White women.
- 11.6 deaths per 100,000 live births for Hispanic or Latina women.