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 strengthen 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 

Success Stories  

Delivering Quality


Learn how USAID’s partnership with the Government of India transformed labor and delivery rooms for safer childbirth. Thanks to the respectful care and delivery that Shivani, a new mother, received last month at the Ranchi District Hospital, in Jharkhand, India, she can now spend time recovering and enjoy thinking about name choices for her newborn with her husband, Amit. 

Secondary Label

From Outpost to Health Post


SIERRA LEONE | Meet Rebecca, a nurse in Thompson Bay, Sierra Leone who had a vision for creating a space where mothers and newborns could get the care they needed. With USAID support, Rebecca’s dream became a reality. Follow the story of new mother, Fatima, as she seeks care for her newborn son at Rebecca’s clinic. In Sierra Leone, the MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership program supports maternal, newborn, and child health, and voluntary family planning and reproductive health initiatives.

Fighting Malnutrition in Ghana


Almost half of all deaths for children under 5 are attributable to malnutrition — this is why improving nutrition is imperative to achieving USAID’s global maternal and child survival goals. Climate change, conflict, and the lasting impacts of COVID-19 have all exacerbated rates of global malnutrition and contributed to the global food security and hunger crisis. Learn how health workers are leading the charge for change.

Safe Childbirth Close to Home


A mother in Senegal names her newborn after her midwife to honor the quality of care she received at community-invested health post. Read her story and learn how USAID is supporting women and children in Senegal to have sustainable access to high quality quality health services for improved health outcomes over the course of their lives.


News and Resources

Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths, A Framework for Action in a Changing World, 2022 – 2030


A Decade of Progress and Action for the Future will examine the tenacity and innovation that helped us make gains, the lessons learned through monitoring, country-led adaptation and leadership, analysis, and reflection, as well as the approaches we must take to reinvigorate the momentum and global commitment to improving maternal and child survival. Increasing coverage, strengthening the quality of care, and enhancing equity will be tantamount to our global progress.

A Decade of Progress and Action for the Future: Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths, 2023-2030 Factsheet


Explore the executive summary for this landmark report outlining USAID's framework for action to prevent child and maternal deaths around the world. 

Preventing Child and Maternal Deaths: Primary Health Care Infographic


Learn more about how USAID is accelerating progress to increase maternal and child survival through primary health care.

Getting to 2030: Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Technical Roadmap


USAID works in partnership with host country governments, the civil and private sectors, faith-based organizations, and other key partners to save lives by ensuring women and children have equitable access to high quality, respectful care. The Getting To 2030: Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Technical Roadmap is a framework that guides USAID's maternal and child survival  programs.

Recognizing Mental Health as a Leading Complication of Pregnancy and Childbirth


While a great deal of focus on risks to women’s health just before and after giving birth centers on physical wellbeing, Rebecca Levine, Senior Maternal Health Advisor with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), observed that we may be missing a key part of the picture.

Empowering Nurses and Midwives with the Skills for Success


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 accelerates progress along their Journey to Self-Reliance.