Birth-related deaths, NYC, 2016

Women with serious complications in childbirth, NYC, 2016

Deaths/serious injuries tied to obstetrics, NYS, 2016


Increase in obstetrics-related deaths/serious injuries, NYS, 2014-16

Expectant mothers are more likely to face severe complications when they deliver their babies in New York City than elsewhere in the United States.

  • Serious injuries and deaths have been rising among New York’s mothers, with the rate of maternal deaths statewide rising from 13.2 per 100,000 live births in 2006 to 25 per 100,000 in 2015. State hospital reports disclose instances where inspectors uncovered negligence and missteps that harmed babies, injured mothers and in rare cases led to death.
  • African-American mothers in New York City have a higher rate of severe maternal complications, three times higher than white mothers, regardless of income or education levels.
  • Latina mothers are likely to face complications at about double the rate of whites.
  • Haitian-American immigrant mothers are likely to face severe problems at more than double the national rate.

Experts said a key predictor for problems is the hospital where mothers deliver. This investigation lets readers compare key factors for each city hospital that delivers babies.

The reporters for this NYCity News Service investigation talked with doctors and nurses, visited clinics, spoke with mothers who faced difficulties, combed through federal and city data, examined the latest medical research and pored over state hospital inspection reports.

New York City invested $13 million last year in an initiative that includes offering implicit bias training to maternal health care providers and enhancing maternal care at the city’s public hospitals. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced new measures to reduce severe complications and deaths among New York’s mothers, establishing a statewide pilot to have Medicaid cover doulas, who provide support to women before and after childbirth; a review board that examines maternal deaths; and summits with hospitals and medical experts to monitor serious complications and death in childbirth.

This series shows how far the city and state have to go.

A Death at Jacobi

Inspection reports reveal tragedies in city birthing wards. >>>

The Risks for Women of Color

Black women are 12 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in New York City.>>>

How Your Hospital Rates

Check the rates of C-sections and episiotomies at your NYC hospital.>>>


A student-powered service at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism
Reporters: Vanessa Swales, Irene Spezzamonte, Kaitlin Sullivan, Shaydanay Urbani
Faculty Advisers: Andrew Lehren, Benjamin Lesser, Christine McKenna, Ellen Tumposky
About the Team