Pathways to Prevention (P2P) Program

Identifying Risks and Interventions to Optimize Postpartum Health

What's New

New resources from this workshop are now available:

  • Federal Partners Meeting Report (PDF)
    This report highlights opportunities and resources to help federal agencies and the research community address the independent panel’s recommendations.
  • Portfolio Review: Data Snapshot (PDF)
    The snapshot describes current NIH research activities in maternal health and maternal morbidity and mortality. It can be used to identify research and funding gaps and opportunities and will serve as a baseline to measure future progress. 

In a new Director's Message, Dr. Murray is joined by the Directors of ORWH, NICHD, NIMHD, and NHLBI to share how NIH is identifying and closing research gaps in postpartum health to address the maternal health crisis.

Notice of Special Interest: Women’s Health Research (NOT-OD-24-079)

In alignment with the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, NIH is issuing this Notice of Special Interest to highlight interest in receiving research applications focused on diseases and health conditions that predominantly affect women, present and progress differently in women, or are female-specific. Several participating Institutes, Centers, and Offices have expressed interest in areas of research that include pregnancy and postpartum care.

NIH Resources for Postpartum Health Research


The United States is experiencing a growing maternal health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 700 women die each year from conditions related to pregnancy. Another 50,000 women experience severe pregnancy-related complications—like heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and depression—that may affect their health for the rest of their lives. Many of these negative outcomes are preventable and disproportionately impact Black or African American women and American Indian and Alaska Native women.


Maternal health research efforts have generally focused on pregnancy. However, the first year after the end of pregnancy, also referred to as the first year of the postpartum period, is an especially vulnerable time for people who give birth. The majority of maternal deaths (from all causes, including health conditions and violence) and severe pregnancy-related complications occur during this period. To make evidence-based improvements in postpartum care, the research community must increase efforts to:

  • Identify risk factors that contribute to poor postpartum outcomes at multiple levels—from the individual to the health system and community.
  • Address how a person’s risk of poor postpartum outcomes is affected by social determinants of health (the conditions of where they live, learn, work, and play).
  • Characterize the impact of those risk factors on postpartum morbidity and mortality.
  • Develop approaches to reduce or prevent these risks.

Key Questions

Guided by the key questions listed below, speakers in this P2P workshop assessed the scientific evidence on predicting and preventing poor postpartum health outcomes. The independent panel will draft a report outlining evidence gaps and priorities for future research.

  • When a birthing person starts prenatal care, what combinations of risk indicators have the greatest effect on poor postpartum health outcomes? To what extent do these patterns of predictors of poor postpartum health outcomes vary by the race/ethnicity of the birthing person?
  • Immediately before or immediately after delivery and before the end of birthing-related care, what combinations of risk indicators to the birthing person have the greatest effect on poor postpartum health outcomes? To what extent do these patterns of predictors of poor postpartum health outcomes vary by the race/ethnicity of the birthing person?

Sponsoring Organizations

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