Texas has 23.8 maternal deaths per every 100,000 women (meaning women who die while pregnant, or shortly after giving birth), the highest rate in the developed world, according to Fast Company writer Adele Peters. A new study found that the rate of maternal deaths doubled between 2010 and 2014 in Texas. And while the rate has been dropping around the world, it has been rising in the U.S.

However, in California, half a million babies are born each year and fewer women are dying. A project called the California Maternal Mortality Review tracked deaths and identified a few causes, some of which are preventable.

Those findings led to new data-driven tool kits, and helped hospitals in California adopt new practices. While the new study doesn't show specifically that the changes led to the state's improvements, it's indisputable that California is showing a clear improvement in the death rate while the rest of the country worsens. Christine Morton, a research sociologist at Stanford University's California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, is hoping that the strategies California has adopted can help lead to better policies across the rest of the country. "This work is really grounded in the data that came, sadly, from women who died," she says.

Read more >