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Maternal Hypertension:
Improving Outcomes, Especially for BIPOC Patients

Our field is always a work in process – and information is key. Info below for healthcare providers to help address hypertensive disorders and improve potential outcomes for your pregnant patients – with a special focus on Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) patients.

Did you know? According to the CDC:

“Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women…”

Did you know? While most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause:

  • Affecting 3-11% of all pregnancies.
  • Are responsible for up to 17% of all maternal mortality in the US.
  • Contributing more to pregnancy-related deaths among black patients than among white patients.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology endorses treating a hypertensive crisis within 60 minutes to reduce the risk for stroke and other adverse outcomes. Though timely treatment is a well-understood best practice, it can be challenging to operationalize consistently.

Do you know what you can do to improve outcomes?

You can’t manage what you don’t measure:

  • Assess your knowledge of interventions that can help to reduce hypertension.
  • Be extra vigilant about the application of those interventions, especially for BIPOC patients because of the disparities cited in research.
  • Identify methods to incorporate more equitable language and training into your individual practice and organizational guidelines.
  • Identify various methodologies to enhance patient education and engagement to increase early recognition and intervention for maternal hypertension.

And apply what is learned:

  • Introduce a standardized process for treatment of hypertension including standardized order set, medication treatment kit and/or discharge planning protocol.
  • Offer educational opportunities to increase provider knowledge of the process, treatment and protocols.
  • Be extra vigilant in applying that knowledge and those processes to BIPOC patients.


Who are we?

The Minnesota Perinatal Quality Collaborative (MNPQC) is a network of organizations, medical providers, content experts and community voices led by Minnesota Perinatal Organization (MPO) in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). We seek to improve maternal and infant health outcomes with emphasis on improving health equity for all birthing people.

Our Goals

Our initiatives and committees work towards health access, quality and equity.

The Hypertension in Pregnancy Initiative focuses on developing reliable processes for recognizing and treating obstetric hypertension (HTN) during pregnancy and up to six weeks postpartum towards reducing severe maternal morbidity (SMM) by 25%.

What else do we need to know?

We all need to be asking more questions, collecting data and sharing what we learn – and applying what we learn to improve the health of our BIPOC clients.

Specifically, work together to:

  • Review current data, trends, and research on best practices to inform quality improvement initiatives.
  • Promote and support quality improvement initiatives aimed at reducing inequities.
  • Provide forums to discuss system and policy issues to guide quality improvement efforts.
  • Seek funding opportunities that address a system wide approach.
  • Reach providers and institutions in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and coordinated effort across system organizations.

This is the purpose of our Perinatal Equity Committee.  Working with our initiative workgroups to provide guidance and support, helping to develop curriculum and education around racism, implicit bias, and accurate data collection.

Who are the Perinatal Equity Committee?

Our mission is to identify and challenge persistent perinatal health disparities and inequities through critical analysis of existing systems and to promote solutions rooted in inclusion and centered on the voices of those most impacted. We seek to dismantle structurally racist and oppressive systems within perinatal care in Minnesota. We will embed an equity lens for optimal health for all in all local and state perinatal health initiatives.

So where do you start?

Begin here.

Take advantage of what’s been learned so far with resources for providers, nurses, and healthcare consumers. Access your copy of the MNPQC “Hypertension in Pregnancy Care Process Model”.

Want to help support our work?