Maternal Deaths Surge to Highest Rate in 60 Years In US: Report
US maternal mortality rate surged in 2021, the second year of Covid-19 pandemic, with Black women more than twice as likely to die than white women.
The United States experienced one of the highest rates of maternal death in its history in 2021, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report also stated that black women experience more than twice as many maternal deaths as white women.
A total of 1,205 women died in the United States during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth in 2021, up from 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) said.
The US maternal mortality rate is the highest among high-income nations, and the number of deaths in 2021 was the most since the mid-1960s.
"The most powerful country in the world should not be accepting this as a reality." "This is a crisis," said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
There were 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021, up from 23.8 per 100,000 in 2020 and 20.1 per 100,000 in 2019, the NCHS said.
The maternal mortality rate for black women in 2021 was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times the rate for white women, which was 26.6 deaths per 100,000.
"The Covid-19 pandemic had a dramatic and tragic effect on maternal death rates, but we cannot let that fact obscure that there was and still is a maternal mortality crisis," said Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Eliminating "racial health inequities" must be a top public health priority, Hoskins said in a statement.
"Pregnant and postpartum Black people continue to make up a disproportionate number of maternal deaths at growing and alarming rates," Hoskins said in a statement. "This trend must be stopped."
A maternal death is defined by the World Health Organization as "the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes".
Despite maternal mortality rates declining by a third in 20 years, the United Nations reported recently that a woman dies every two minutes as a result of problems during pregnancy or childbirth.