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US maternal deaths doubled in last 20 years, study finds

Maternal mortality rates have doubled in the US over the last two decades - with deaths highest among black mothers, a new study suggests.

American Indian and Alaska Native women saw the greatest increase, the study in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) said.

Southern states had the highest maternal death rates across all race and ethnicity groups, the study found.

In 1999, there were an estimated 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births and in 2019 that figure rose to 32.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019, according to the research, which did not study data from the pandemic years.

Unlike other studies, this one examined disparities within states instead of measuring rates at the national level, and it monitored five racial and ethnic groups.

Dr Allison Bryant, one of the study's authors, said the findings were a call to action "to understand that some of it is about health care and access to health care, but a lot of it is about structural racism".

She said some current policies and procedures "may keep people from being healthy".

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Source: BBC News, 4 July 2023


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