Maternal Mortality Rates in the US: A Crisis Facing Women Today

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Image Source: Portugal.com

The United States has been identified as one of the most dangerous wealthy countries for women to give birth. Recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that maternal mortality rates increased by 40% at the peak of the pandemic. The maternal mortality rate in the US in 2021 was 33 women out of every 100,000 live births, compared to 23.8 in 2020.

Shockingly, this rate is more than double for black women, who are almost three times more likely to die than white women. The maternal mortality rate in the US is twice as high as in the UK, Germany, and France and three times higher than in Spain, Italy, Japan, and other countries, according to the most recent global comparison data kept by the World Bank. The maternal mortality rate has consistently increased in the US since at least 2000, yet the average maternal mortality rate among the 37 other countries accounted for in the data has declined over the same time period.

The COVID-19 pandemic, racial inequality, comparatively low health insurance coverage, and high health insurance costs have all contributed to this spike in maternal mortality rates. The high cost of healthcare, coupled with disparities across racial and socio-economic backgrounds, has kept the mortality rate in the US persistently high for years. Black Americans are disproportionately at the intersection of all these factors, which increase their risk of experiencing severe illness if infected with COVID-19, pregnancy complications, and even death.

They are often employed in low-income jobs that offer little-to-no health insurance coverage and minimal time off for maternity leave. These same jobs, like food service, were deemed essential during the pandemic and workers were unable to work from home, increasing black women’s chances of exposure to
COVID-19.

The vast majority of maternal deaths happen shortly after giving birth when many women are forced to return to work and are unable to continue with post-partum care. Black American women are more likely to be uninsured, with higher rates of obesity or being overweight in the US and a 20% higher chance of having hypertension. Many are discouraged from seeing a doctor post-partum because of the potentially high cost, and some may wait until their condition becomes too severe.

Experts argue that until there is a major overhaul of how the healthcare system in the US functions, the situation is unlikely to improve. Without the systems in place to support low-income employees, many mothers are forced to ignore early signs of health concerns, and some may wait until the direst circumstances, which in many cases can be too late.

Staff Reporter

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Maternal Mortality Rates in the US: A Crisis Facing Women Today

Image Source: Portugal.com

The United States has been identified as one of the most dangerous wealthy countries for women to give birth. Recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that maternal mortality rates increased by 40% at the peak of the pandemic. The maternal mortality rate in the US in 2021 was 33 women out of every 100,000 live births, compared to 23.8 in 2020.

Shockingly, this rate is more than double for black women, who are almost three times more likely to die than white women. The maternal mortality rate in the US is twice as high as in the UK, Germany, and France and three times higher than in Spain, Italy, Japan, and other countries, according to the most recent global comparison data kept by the World Bank. The maternal mortality rate has consistently increased in the US since at least 2000, yet the average maternal mortality rate among the 37 other countries accounted for in the data has declined over the same time period.

The COVID-19 pandemic, racial inequality, comparatively low health insurance coverage, and high health insurance costs have all contributed to this spike in maternal mortality rates. The high cost of healthcare, coupled with disparities across racial and socio-economic backgrounds, has kept the mortality rate in the US persistently high for years. Black Americans are disproportionately at the intersection of all these factors, which increase their risk of experiencing severe illness if infected with COVID-19, pregnancy complications, and even death.

They are often employed in low-income jobs that offer little-to-no health insurance coverage and minimal time off for maternity leave. These same jobs, like food service, were deemed essential during the pandemic and workers were unable to work from home, increasing black women’s chances of exposure to
COVID-19.

The vast majority of maternal deaths happen shortly after giving birth when many women are forced to return to work and are unable to continue with post-partum care. Black American women are more likely to be uninsured, with higher rates of obesity or being overweight in the US and a 20% higher chance of having hypertension. Many are discouraged from seeing a doctor post-partum because of the potentially high cost, and some may wait until their condition becomes too severe.

Experts argue that until there is a major overhaul of how the healthcare system in the US functions, the situation is unlikely to improve. Without the systems in place to support low-income employees, many mothers are forced to ignore early signs of health concerns, and some may wait until the direst circumstances, which in many cases can be too late.

Staff Reporter