Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Vanessa Bester, EdD, MPAS, PA-C


Background: Maternal deaths during pregnancy, parturition, and post-partum is an immense tragedy that impacts families in stark and devastating manner. With maternal mortality rate being exceptionally high, globally and locally, it is imperative more research is done to gain more in- depth and comprehensive understanding of the crisis at large.

Purpose: Since the overall increase of maternal mortality rates is still unknown, further comprehensive research is needed to understand the indirect and direct causes contributing to the alarming trend. This paper will analyze the contributors of maternal mortality and the disparities that exist within maternal health in respect to race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted using Google Scholar, PubMed, Taylor and Francis Online and Science Direct data bases using the search terms maternal mortality, socioeconomic status, racial and ethnic disparities in maternal mortality, allostatic load and maternal mortality and access to antenatal care.

Conclusions: The studies reviewed revealed the social determinant of health including poor access to quality and equitable care throughout pregnancy, lower educational level, poverty as well as race have all showed to have adverse impact on maternal health outcomes adding to the increasing maternal mortality rates further widening the health disparity gaps. More research is urgently needed to further understand the implications of these findings and coming up with more pragmatic solutions that take into account the challenges and inequities that exist for marginalized and low-resource communities.


SC 11.PAS.2022.Aideed.M