Black Women 243% More Likely to Die During Pregnancy, Childbirth and Postpartum

A yearlong investigation by ProPublica and NPR has revealed that in addition to the U.S. having the highest rate of maternal death of any industrialized country, black women are 243% more likely than whites or hispanics to die during pregnancy, childbirth or the postpartum period. Why are Mothers Dying During Pregnancy and Childbirth? For women of all ethnic backgrounds, data from the CDC shows that the rate of severe complications related to childbirth more than doubled between 1993-2014. The ProPublica/NPR investigation points to a variety of factors contributing to the increase in the maternal death rate; chief among them are increases in the average age and weight of pregnant women. Factors such as age and weight mean a greater likelihood of diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension). The report also cites a 2008-2012 study of women in New York hospitals that found that women with “severe pre-existing conditions were three times as likely as other new…

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