COVID-19 vaccine: Get the latest updates on children’s doses, booster shots and more. Learn More

A Life-Saving Conversation During & After Pregnancy

Two women talking to each other while walking past a concrete wall with graffiti

(BPT) – Some people don’t think that “talking” alone can make a difference when it comes to someone’s health. But when it comes to helping prevent potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications, conversations can be a powerful tool.

While most women give birth without experiencing complications, we know that tragically every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, according to the WHO. Most of these deaths are preventable. While the burden falls most heavily on the developing world, some developed nations are suffering significant and worsening rates of maternal death.

The statistics in the United States are startling:

  • According to the WHO, the number of deaths from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth has more than doubled in the past 20 years; and
  • According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, every year, 60,000 women nearly die from such complications

That’s why Merck created Merck for Mothers – a 10-year, $500-million initiative focused on creating a world where no woman dies giving life. In addition to supporting a comprehensive set of programs to tackle this issue at the national and local levels through partnerships with leading organizations in the U.S., Merck for Mothers is now working to raise awareness of three of the leading pregnancy complications that cause maternal death in the country.

“Any woman can be at risk for pregnancy complications, so if someone you love is pregnant, encourage them to have a ‘PEP Talk’ with their healthcare professional about potential pregnancy complications,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Rosenblatt. “This is a simple way we can all make a difference.”

“PEP” stands for three of the leading causes of maternal death in the U.S.:

  • Preeclampsia – or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure;
  • Embolism – a blood clot that moves to the lung; and
  • Post-partum hemorrhage – severe bleeding during or soon after giving birth

The simple act of having a “PEP Talk” with a healthcare professional about these potential pregnancy complications could help provide life-saving information.

Join Merck for Mothers to help ensure that expecting families are prepared with what they need to know to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. Make sure your pregnant loved ones are having regular check-ups with a healthcare professional and next time they’re there: tell them to have a PEP Talk.

Tips for telling your loved ones about the PEP talk

Who should you tell?

Anyone pregnant or considering becoming pregnant and their family members. A woman’s entire support network should be informed and be her advocate.

Where should you say something?

Here are just a few places where you can tell your loved ones about the importance of having a PEP Talk:

  • At your favorite cafe
  • While you are on a walk
  • During a prenatal yoga class
  • In the comfort of your home

When should expecting families have a PEP Talk?

Any time before or during pregnancy is important, but don’t forget about the weeks after birth. Complications can arise during the post-natal period, so be sure your loved ones know to speak up if something doesn’t feel or seem right.

Is it difficult?

Sometimes the hardest things to say are the most important. Telling your loved ones to have a PEP Talk shows you care and could help to provide life-saving information.

Why #HaveaPEPTalk and #SayItNow?

Because moms are everything.

To learn more, visit, follow on Twitter @MerckforMothers and join our community on

Tomah Health