U.S. maternal mortality rate hits high not seen in more than 50 years
A CDC study, based on 2021 data from the National Vital Statistics System, found that more than 1,000 women died during childbirth in the calendar year.
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According to a new report on U.S. maternal mortality recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showed an upward trend of women dying during childbirth over the last few years.
“This report updates a previous one that showed maternal mortality rates for 2018–2020. In 2021, 1,205 women died of maternal causes in the United States compared with 861 in 2020, 754 in 2019, and 658 in 2018. The maternal mortality rate for 2021 was 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with a rate of 23.8 in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019,” highlighted the CDC.
#MaternalMortality is a tragedy no one should endure. If you know someone who is or recently was pregnant, listen to their concerns. Help them get the care they may need.— CDC (@CDCgov) March 17, 2023
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The figures for maternal mortality, which is clinically defined as the death of a woman during the gestation period or 42 days after the termination of pregnancy, were shared by the National Vital Statistics System of the United States.
Among the most relevant data, the following stand out:
- There were more than twice as many deaths among Black women as among white women, with a rate close to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births, which is 2.6 times the rate for white women of 26.6 per 100,000.
- The increases from 2020 to 2021 for groups of Hispanic origin were also significant, going from 18.2 to 28 deaths per 100,000 live births.
- The mortality rate in women over 40 years of age in 2021 (138.5 per 100,000) was almost seven times higher than that of women under 25 years of age (20.4), and the increase in this percentage between 2020 and 2021 also was considerably higher in that first segment of the population (from 107.9 to 138.5 per 100,000).
“Consistent with previous reports, the number of maternal deaths does not include all deaths occurring to pregnant or recently pregnant women, but only deaths with the underlying cause of death assigned to International Statistical Classification of Diseases,” underlined the CDC.
It is also important to note that maternal mortality rates fluctuate from year to year due to a relatively small number of events and possibly due to problems reporting maternal deaths on death certificates.
Among the probable causes of the rise, some experts told CNN that the pandemic played a major role.
Officials in the Biden Administration said that they would continue to fight to increase access to health care for women who are pregnant and giving birth, in hopes of stopping the rising trend of maternal mortality.