Maternal Sepsis Campaign

The Rory Staunton Foundation is proud to announce the launch of a ground-breaking new initiative to combat maternal sepsis, a leading cause of pregnancy-related death in the United States.

The initiative is funded in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe). BARDA DRIVe seeks to leverage public-private partnerships to address pressing health security challenges.

View our press release announcing the initiative here.

Why Maternal Sepsis?
We have made it our mission to end preventable deaths from sepsis–including for new and expectant mothers. No woman should die as a result of pregnancy and birth–and no baby should be left motherless.

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, despite spending more than any other country on hospital-based maternity care.(1) It is the only developed country where mortality rates are rising rather than falling. Over the past two decades, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the US has doubled, with black women three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related issues than white women. (2) According to the CDC, the majority of these deaths are preventable. (3)

Maternal Sepsis is the third leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States and globally; nearly a quarter of all pregnancy-related deaths are sepsis related with studies showing that the rates of maternal sepsis are increasing. (4)

Read the harrowing story of April, a maternal sepsis survivor and member of our National Family Council on Sepsis.

About the Initiative
Our maternal sepsis initiative seeks to end maternal deaths from sepsis. We will achieve this by driving education and awareness resources to pregnant women, new mothers, and healthcare providers, and through the development of a comprehensive report on the causes and risk factors associated with the condition.

Through a partnership with New York State’s Department of Health, we will identify and analyze the risk factors associated with maternal sepsis, including the demographic characteristics, co-morbidities, and obstetric procedures that place some women at higher risk of developing sepsis. This work will be an unparalleled resource in informing public policies, improving delivery of care to new and expectant mothers, and guiding education and awareness activities for patients and providers.

At the same time, we will develop a multi-sector coalition of state and federal organizations invested in reducing maternal mortality rates. Working with our coalition, and incorporating the findings from New York State Department of Health’s analysis, we will develop a suite of high-quality education and awareness materials–including webinars, electronic brochures, fact sheets, social media collateral, and a public service announcement –to educate mothers and women’s health providers about the dangers, signs, and risk factors associated with maternal sepsis. These materials will be widely disseminated by the Foundation and its partners, with a special focus on reaching women of color.

Along with information about the risks and signs of maternal sepsis, we will educate new parents about sepsis more generally, enabling them to protect their growing families.

As our Initiative gets underway, we’ll keep you posted on the latest developments and on how you can get involved. We look forward to sharing resources and milestones as we embark on this vital work to save lives from sepsis.

It is the Foundation’s belief that in the 21st century, in the world’s richest country, no woman should die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

Get the facts about maternal sepsis on our resource page.