Black maternal mortality rate 2.5 times higher than white in bleak U.S. maternal mortality report

Black maternal mortality rate 2.5 times higher than white in bleak U.S. maternal mortality report

The data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that, for every 100,000 births in the United States in 2018, more than 17 women died during pregnancy or in the weeks following childbirth. That's almost 660 women in total.

Compare that to other developed countries, such as Finland, Italy, or Japan, where the maternal mortality rate is around 3 to 5 deaths per 100,000 births, according to the most recently available data compiled by the CIA. maternal mortality rate, meanwhile, hovers around that of Serbia, Oman, and Hungary.

Shockingly, among African Americans, the maternal mortality rate is far worse. Out of every 100,000 non-Hispanic black women who gave birth in the U.S. in 2018, 37 died, the new data reveals. That's twice the rate of maternal deaths among white women in the U.S. and three times that of Hispanic women.

While the data is disturbing, it probably doesn't sound particularly new. Separate CDC data, studies, and news reports in recent years have already pointed to high mortality rates among pregnant and new moms in America, and particularly appalling pregnancy-related death rates among black and native women compared to whites.

So what's different this time? This is America's first official, national maternal mortality estimate since 2007. The maternal mortality rate tells us how many women died during pregnancy or within the first 42 days after giving birth from pregnancy-related complications. It's different from the previously calculated "pregnancy-related death rate," which includes deaths up to one year after birth.

With this newly calculated rate, researchers and policymakers have a more accurate measurement of the extent of America's maternal mortality problem. That, hopefully, will help fuel efforts to improve the safety of pregnancy and childbirth for all women.

The question remains: Why is the U.S. maternal mortality rate so high compared to other developed countries, and why do black women suffer disproportionately from maternal death?

Researchers and policymakers are still trying to figure that out. But some suspected culprits are:

  • America's fragmented health system, which can leave some women without access to prenatal and postpartum care
  • Racism in healthcare, either conscious or unconscious
  • More women with health problems; chronic health issues, particularly heart disease, are increasingly prevalent and can lead to pregnancy complications
  • Lack of awareness of signs of trouble among women and their providers

Keep in mind that it's still statistically very unlikely that you'll die from pregnancy or childbirth in the U.S. But there are some steps you can take to ensure a healthy pregnancy, including:

  • Look after your health before you get pregnant, such as by exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking.
  • Try to work with a culturally competent healthcare provider.
  • Get regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy.
  • Continue with postpartum care after you give birth.
  • Know the warning signs for pregnancy complications.

our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.

Watch the video: Highest maternal mortality rates among African-American women (January 2022).

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