Press Release

Fifty Four Hospitals Partnering to Prevent Maternal Deaths during Pregnancy and Birth
AWHONN Leads Initiative to Improve the Treatment of Obstetric Hemorrhage

Washington, D.C. - With U.S. women experiencing a greater risk of death from pregnancy-related complications than women in 46 other countries, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) launched a multi-year three pronged initiative to improve the treatment of pregnancy related complications.  The first initiative focuses on improving the treatment of obstetric hemorrhage - one of the leading causes of death during labor and delivery.

AWHONN's Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) Project has brought together 54 birthing hospitals in Georgia and New Jersey to assess and improve clinical practices.  Additional hospitals in the District of Columbia are expected to join the PPH Project later this year. Approximately 125,000 women and their families (each year) will benefit from the PPH Project.  A full list of the participating hospitals is available on this website.

While two to three women die every day in the U.S. from pregnancy-related complications, more than half of these deaths are preventable.  Incidents of obstetric hemorrhage (or bleeding too much during childbirth) have increased in recent years along with an overuse of inductions of labor.  Research suggests that women who have inductions of labor have a greater risk of experiencing postpartum hemorrhage.  Between 1999 and 2009, the number of women who received blood transfusions during and immediately after childbirth increased by 183%.  African American women are disproportionately affected by birthing complications with three to four times more deaths than women of all other racial and ethnic groups.

Participating hospitals joined the initiative because of their interest in shaping and improving postpartum hemorrhage clinical practices.  During the next year and a half they will work with national experts to identify best practices for treatment.

"By participating in the Postpartum Hemorrhage Project these hospitals are leading the way in providing women quality care during labor and delivery," said AWHONN's CEO, Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN.  "Maternal deaths can largely be prevented and AWHONN is working to help keep mothers and babies safe."

Supported by a grant from Merck for Mothers, AWHONN's Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) Project is designed to:

    • increase clinician recognition of women at greatest risk of obstetric hemorrhage;
    • increase early recognition of which women are bleeding too much;
    • increase the readiness of clinical team preparedness to successfully respond to obstetric hemorrhage; and
    • track clinician response to obstetric hemorrhage for improving future performance.

Additional practice improvements will include identifying barriers to treating obstetric hemorrhage, sharing clinical best practices, and identifying how to more effectively implement similar improvements in all hospitals in the United States.



The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is the foremost nursing authority that advances the health care of women and newborns through advocacy, research and the creation of high quality, evidence-based standards of care.  

AWHONN's 24,000 members worldwide are clinicians, educators and executives who serve as patient care advocates focusing on the needs of women and infants.  A leader in professional development, AWHONN holds the distinction of twice receiving the Premier Program award by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for innovation and excellence in Continuing Nursing Education (CNE). 

Founded in 1969 as the Nurses Association of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the association became a separate nonprofit organization called the Association of Women's Health and Neonatal Nurses in 1993.

Project Overview

Improve PPH care through quality improvement methods and collaboration


Learn more about our geographic areas of focus

Participating Hospitals

View the list of participating hospitals & meetings


Access more information on best practices for postpartum hemorrhage


Review this snapshot of AWHONN and the organization’s scope of work

Press Room

Explore PPH coverage in the media

Take Action

Join AWHONN’s effort and make a difference

Maternal Morbidity & Mortality

Know the facts about maternal death and injury

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