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Welcome to the AWHONN Minnesota Section Website

Photo Credit: Conservation Corps

We are a growing  community of nurses interested in the issues of women and newborns. Please browse our site to find out more about us, what we do, and available resources to promote the health of women and newborns.

A message from the CDC regarding Pregnancy-Related Deaths

Dear Colleague,

Today CDC will release a Vital Signs report showing that nearly a third (31%) of pregnancy-related deaths happen during pregnancy, just over a third (36%) happen during delivery or the week after, and exactly a third (33%) happen one week to one year after delivery.

However, 3 in 5 pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented, no matter when they occur.

The findings come from a CDC analysis of 2011–2015 national data on pregnancy mortality and of 2013–2017 detailed data from 13 state maternal-mortality review committees. 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 physiological effects of pregnancy.


The data confirm persistent racial disparities: Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women were about three times as likely as white women to die from a pregnancy-related cause. But the new analysis found that most deaths were preventable, regardless of race/ethnicity.


The analysis also found that leading causes of death differed throughout pregnancy and after delivery.

  • Heart disease and stroke caused more than 1 in 3 deaths overall.
  • Obstetric emergencies, like severe bleeding and amniotic fluid embolism (when amniotic fluid enters a mother’s bloodstream), caused most deaths at delivery.
  • In the week after delivery, severe bleeding, high blood pressure, and infection were most common.
  • Cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscle) caused most deaths 1 week to 1 year after delivery.

The report also summarizes potential prevention strategies from 13 state maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs). MMRCs are multidisciplinary groups of experts that review maternal deaths to better understand how to prevent future deaths.


The committees determined that pregnancy-related deaths are associated with several contributing factors, including access to appropriate and high-quality care, missed or delayed diagnoses, and lack of knowledge among patients and providers around warning signs. MMRC data suggest that the majority of deaths—regardless of when they occurred—may have been prevented by addressing these factors at multiple levels to prevent deaths during pregnancy, at labor and delivery and in the postpartum period:

  • Providers and patients can work together to manage chronic conditions and have ongoing conversations about the warning signs of complications.
  • Hospitals and health systems can play an important coordination role, encouraging cross-communication and collaboration among healthcare providers. They can also work to improve delivery of quality care before, during, and after pregnancy and standardize approaches for responding to obstetric emergencies.
  • States and communities can address social determinants of health, including providing access to housing and transportation. They can develop policies to ensure high-risk women are delivered at hospitals with specialized healthcare providers and equipment—a concept called “risk-appropriate care.” And they can support MMRCs to review the causes behind every maternal death and identify actions to prevent future deaths.
  • Women and their families can know and communicate about the warning symptoms of complications and note pregnancy history any time medical care is received in the year after delivery.

CDC is prioritizing the lives of America’s mothers to prevent pregnancy-related death. CDC tracks pregnancy-related mortality and severe pregnancy complications. The agency provides technical assistance and resources to MMRCs to review maternal deaths and make prevention recommendations.


CDC will provide support to as many as 25 MMRCs across the country through the Preventing Maternal Deaths: Supporting Maternal Mortality Review Committees funding opportunity, beginning in Fall 2019. CDC also funds 13 state perinatal quality collaboratives and the National Network of Perinatal Quality Collaboratives to improve the quality of care for mothers and their babies. To help states standardize their assessment of levels of maternal and newborn care for their delivery hospitals, CDC offers the CDC Levels of Care Assessment Tool and provides technical assistance to those who want to use it. And CDC is working to educate the public about pregnancy-related death.


Please share this information broadly with your colleagues and partners; the information will be available at: www.cdc.gov/vitalsignsI look forward to continuing to work with you all to increase awareness about the signs of serious pregnancy complications, and the need for preventative care that can and does save lives.


Many thanks,

Dr. Wanda Barfield

Director of Division of Reproductive Health

2019 Diaper Drive Results

Thanks to the many generous donors at our conference, AWHONN MN Section raised enough to cover 11 families for one month, or one family for an entire year! (469 diapers, plus monetary donations) Donations will be distributed by the Diaper Bank of Minnesota. 

Did you know…

  • 1 in 3 Minnesota families struggles with diaper need.
  • Diapers cost about $975 per year for the first 3 years of a child’s life.
  • Diaper need is a major cause of stress, anxiety and depression for parents.
  • The diaper bank is in need of larger size diapers (4, 5, and overnights) as well as newborn.

You can help!
The Diaper Bank of Minnesota provides diapering supplies to agencies that work directly with families in need. Your contribution will help them purchase diapers and wipes for these families. The diaper bank is able to purchase diapers at ½ price – so every dollar goes a long way! The Diaper Bank of Minnesota is a 501(c)3 organization and your contributions are tax deductible. 
Tax ID 30-0631448

Volunteers are needed - email info@diaperbankmn.org -  if you’d like to help us keep babies clean and healthy in Minnesota!

2018 AWHONN Convention

Take a look at these great photos and updates from the 2018 AWHONN Convention in Tampa Bay, FL. And be sure to check out the 2019 AWHONN Convention being held in Atlanta GA on June 8-12, 2019! Click here for more info: https://awhonnconvention.org 

Three of our AWHONN MN Section attendees:
Becky Gams, Nanette Vogel, and Cindy Osborn

Sandra Hoffman, MS, RNC-EFM,
Clinical Practice Coordinator - Masters, Mother Baby Center of Abbott Northwestern and Children's Minnesota
Poster: Neonatal Head Surveillance: A Guideline for Safety and OB Critical Care Partnership Model

Mary Goering, MPH, RN, Clinical Practice Coordinator - Masters, United Hospital, Allina Health 
Poster: OB Sepsis Screening: A Toolkit for Safety

Nanette Vogel, MS, RNC-OB, EFM, Clinical Education Specialist, University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital
Poster: Enhancing the Competency of Obstetric Nurses in the
Perioperative Environment

Our very own Nanette Vogel was awarded the Outstanding Innovative Program Poster Award.
Presented by: Rebecca Cypher, AWHONN President-Elect

Minnesota Chapter Website Questions? Contact Becky Gams

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