Deaths from unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide during or within 1 year of pregnancy in Philadelphia

Pooja K. Mehta, Marcus A. Bachhuber, Roy Hoffman, Sindhu K. Srinivas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives. To understand the effect of unintentional injuries (e.g., drug overdose), suicide, and homicide on pregnancy-associated death (death during or within 1 year of pregnancy). Methods. We analyzed all cases of pregnancy-associated death among Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, residents from 2010 to 2014, examining cause of death, contributing factors, and history of health care use. Results. Approximately half (49%; 42 of 85) of pregnancy-associated deaths were from unintentional injuries (n = 31), homicide (n = 8), or suicide (n = 3); drug overdose was the leading cause (n = 18). Substance use was noted during or around events leading to death in 46% (31 of 67) of nonoverdose deaths. A history of serious mental illness was noted in 39% (32 of 82) of nonsuicide deaths. History of intimate partner violence (IPV) was documented in 19% (15 of 77) of nonhomicide deaths. Regardless of cause of death, approximately half of all decedents had an unscheduled hospital visit documented within a month of death. Conclusions. Unintentionalinjury,homicide,and suicide contribute to manydeathsamong pregnant and recently pregnant women. Interventions focused on substance use, mental health, and IPV may reduce pregnancy-associated and pregnancy-related deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2208-2210
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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