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‘A critical emergency’: America’s Black maternal mortality crisis

America is facing an intensified push to pass stalled federal legislation to address the US’s alarming maternal mortality rates and glaring racial disparities which have led to especially soaring death rates among Black women giving birth.

Maternal mortality rates in the US far outpace rates in other industrialised nations, with rates more than double those of countries such as France, Canada, the UK, Australia, Germany. Moms in the US are dying at the highest rates in the developed world.

Overall maternal mortality rates in the US spiked during the pandemic. Maternal deaths in the US rose 40% from 861 in 2020 to 1,205 in 2021, a rate of 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births. For Black women, these maternal mortality rates were significantly higher, at 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021.

These racial disparities in maternal health outcomes have persisted and worsened for years as the number of women who die giving birth in the US has more than doubled in the last two decades.

The CDC noted in a review of maternal mortalities in the US from 2017 to 2019, that 84% of the recorded maternal deaths were preventable.

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Source: The Guardian, 23 July 2023


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