Maternal mortality rates in the US have risen in 2021, the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, a report published this Thursday (16) indicates, according to which black women will die twice as often as white women.
A total of 1,205 women in the country died during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth in 2021, up from 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
The U.S. maternal mortality rate is the highest among high-income countries, and the death toll in 2021 is the highest since the mid-1960s.
In 2021, there were 32.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, while 23.8 per 100,000 in 2020 and 20.1 per 100,000 in 2019, according to the NCHS.
Among black women, the maternal mortality rate in 2021 was 69.9 per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times higher than for white women, which was 26.6 per 100,000.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines death during pregnancy as death occurring within 42 days after delivery as a result of pregnancy or its management or from a worse cause.
The NCHS report did not provide any reason for the increase in maternal mortality in 2021 or the disparity between black and white women.
However, medical experts said the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant factor, along with socioeconomic conditions and deficiencies in access to quality maternity and postpartum care for many black women.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic and tragic effect on maternal mortality rates, but cannot be allowed to hide the fact that there was and still is a maternal mortality crisis,” said Ifat Abbasi Hoskins, President of the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. and American Gynecologists.
Eliminating “racial health disparities” should be a public health priority, Hoskins said in a statement.
“Pregnant and postpartum black populations continue to disproportionately account for maternal deaths at alarmingly increasing rates,” she added. “This trend must stop.”
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