Lost Mothers: Maternal Mortality in the U.S.

NPR and ProPublica

In the public conversation on women’s health, attention usually turns into debate over abortion, but NPR and ProPublica’s collaborative series—“Lost Mothers: Maternal Mortality in the U.S.”—examines a crisis rarely talked about. Why does the U.S., which spends more per capita on health care than any other country, carry the highest rate of women dying as a consequence of pregnancy and childbirth in the developed world? Reporting by NPR’s Renee Montagne and ProPublica’s Nina Martin features the story of a New Jersey nurse named Lauren Bloomstein, who died a day after giving birth due to pre-eclampsia—a type of high blood pressure that only occurs in pregnancy or postpartum—that wasn’t diagnosed until it was too late. Clear, but emotional stories from both survivors and loved ones document the rapid onset of symptoms and lack of quick response by some medical providers. Even more troubling is the revelation that black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth due to inherent discrimination, which can lead to chronic stress or “weathering.” “Lost Mothers” also highlights a critical knowledge gap in postpartum medical personnel, many of whom report they were not fully informed on some of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia and other critical issues. For vital public service reporting that pushes the standard for vigilance, prevention, and equity in women’s health care, a Peabody Award goes to “Lost Mothers: Maternal Mortality in the U.S.”


Correspondent, NPR: Renee Montagne. Reporter, ProPublica: Nina Martin. Senior Editor, NPR: Robert Little. Senior Producer, NPR: Nicole Beemsterboer. Senior Editor, ProPublica: Daniel Golden. Production Assistant, NPR: Meg Anderson. Researcher, NPR: Barbara Van Woerkom. Engagement Reporter, ProPublica: Adriana Gallardo.