Maternal and Newborn Health

USAID supports mothers and babies through pregnancy, delivery, and beyond. Our maternal and newborn health programs increase the coverage, equity, and quality of proven, cost-effective interventions such as safe cesarean delivery, life saving medications, respectful maternity care, kangaroo mother care, newborn resuscitation, and chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care.

Every year, more than 5 million children under the age five and 200,000 women die from largely preventable causes. For mothers, the leading causes of death include infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, complications around delivery, and severe bleeding after childbirth.  As more young children survive beyond their fifth birthdays, newborns deaths caused by prematurity, complications during birth, and severe infections make up close to 50 percent of under-five child deaths. Nutrition also plays a critical role 

USAID supports the inextricable link between the health of women and their children with broader development objectives. A mother’s death because of pregnancy or  childbirth threatens her newborn’s chance of survival,  lowers her other children’s chances for survival and  education, threatens family stability, and undermines her community and country’s prosperity.

To prevent maternal and newborn deaths, USAID is increasing equitable access to quality care before, during, and after childbirth to support the health of both mothers and newborns through pregnancy and the first year of life.

Our Approach and Results

USAID maternal and newborn health programs save lives by:

  • Increasing the equitable coverage of proven, cost-effective interventions such as safe cesarean delivery, life saving medications, respectful maternity care, kangaroo mother care, newborn resuscitation, and chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care.

  • Improving the delivery of respectful and quality of care through better provider performance, access to quality commodities, access to water and sanitation in health facilities, and enhanced data for decision making through routine health information systems. 

  • Building the capacity of health providers in the public and private sector to provide safe medical and surgical care for women experiencing birth complications and to provide nurturing, family-centered care for small and sick newborns.

  • Enhancing integrated health services to address critical underlying health determinants and practices such as healthy maternal diet, early and exclusive breastfeeding, and access to voluntary family planning and reproductive health care.

  • Conducting research to generate and improve evidence based policies and practices and their implementation to ultimately scale up high-impact maternal and newborn health innovations and strenghten the way programs are delivered. 

Since 2012, USAID has supported 32 million women to give birth in a health facility and reached more than 9 million newborns with care after delivery.

Where We Work 
Our maternal and child survival programs focus on 25 countries that represent more than 66 percent of maternal and child deaths.

Projects and Partnerships

Mothing smiling holding laughing baby


MOMENTUM— Moving Integrated, Quality Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services to Scale—is a suite of projects that works in partnership with countries to scale up health interventions and improve the overall health and well-being of mothers, children, families, and communities.

mother staring off into distance

Breakthrough ACTION

Breakthrough ACTION ignites collective action and encourages people to adopt healthier behaviors—from using modern contraceptive methods and sleeping under bed nets to improved complementary feeding—by forging, testing, and scaling up new and hybrid approaches to social and behavior change.

Mother spoon feeding baby seated in her lap, while another child to the left smiles

USAID Advancing Nutrition

USAID Advancing Nutrition works to improve the nutrition and health status of vulnerable populations. With a focus on building local capacity, supporting behavior change, and strengthening environments, this project aims to save lives, improve health, build resilience, increase economic productivity, and advance development.

Infants smiling at the camera

Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM)

GHSC-PSM enhances the health care experience in the communities we serve through transformative supply chain solutions by working closely with country partners and suppliers worldwide to promote wellbeing and help countries develop sustainable supply chain systems.

Featured News, Resources, and Stories  

 The Crisis of Perinatal Mental Health Requires Collaborative Solutions
NEWS | October 2022
“Many are unaware that common perinatal mental health disorders – such as anxiety and depression – are the leading complication of pregnancy and childbirth globally.” - USAID Senior Maternal Health Advisor, Rebecca Levine

Empowering Nurses and Midwives with the Skills for Success
Well-trained nurses and midwives are vital to preventing maternal and child deaths, fostering resilient health systems, and ensuring health for all. A health workforce empowered by education and supportive management can better provide reliable, accessible, high-quality care. By helping countries build the capacity and skills of their own health workforce, USAID is accelerating progress.

Making a Lasting Impact on Mothers in Africa
MEDIUM | May 2021
Learn how USAID is advancing quality, respectful, and accessible care for mothers and their families

Helping Babies Breathe: How an innovative approach and a decade of partnership have helped save newborn lives
MEDIUM | January 2021
Read more about USAID's longstanding support for newborns around the world by training millions of health workers in
low-cost, evidence-based training for newborn resuscitation techniques.

 A Mother's Strength: Empowering Midwives and Protecting Families during COVID-19  
EXPOSURE | December 2020
Learn how USAID is supporting health workers in Indonesia provide quality maternal care during COVID-19.

Newsletter Headline

Subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates 

Newsletter Description

Our quarterly MCHN e-Newsletter highlights updates on USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Programs around the world.