Maternal Health Inequity During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Existing inequities in maternal mortality and serious morbidity rates in the United States may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Maternal mortality and serious morbidity rates are considerably higher in the United States than in other wealthy nations, and women of color are bearing the brunt of this crisis. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation created the series of reports draws on insights from interviews with maternal health program and policy experts, prenatal care providers, advocates, and funders, as well as a scan of the research literature, policies, and initiatives at the community, state, and national levels.

Key Findings:

  • Black and indigenous women are two to three times more likely to experience poor maternal and infant outcomes than white women in the United States.
  • The pandemic may be exacerbating racial and ethnic disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity.
  • Providers, health systems, and communities are adapting care delivery in these challenging times; and identify emerging innovations that could promote maternal health equity during and beyond the pandemic.

Population: Women


  • Read the full brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • Learn more about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • Read the report Maternal Telehealth Has Expanded Dramatically During the COVID-19 Pandemic, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • Access the Maternal Health page from the World Health Organization.
  • Access the resource page Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health Services during COVID-19, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Date: 2020