RISING MATERNAL MORTALITY AND POOR HEALTH OUTCOMES
The rate of mothers dying in childbirth or due to pregnancy-related causes continues to climb in the U.S. even while it declines in other high-income countries.
What’s even more staggering is that more than 60% of maternal deaths in the U.S. are preventable and unnecessary.
Pregnancy related deaths in the U.S.
The figure above shows that the rate of maternal deaths quintupled in the last thirty years despite advances in maternal care.
The reasons maternal death rates are on the rise in the U.S. include:
- Poor access to health care
- Racism, discrimination and disrespect
- Lack of integrated care models that address medical, behavioral and social needs comprehensively
- Misaligned incentives for health systems with maternal health outcomes
Because of these barriers, the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal death out of every high-income country.
It’s even worse for women of color. Maternal death for American Indian/Alaskan Native and non-Hispanic Black women is 3 to 4 times more likely to happen compared to white women.
But maternal mortality isn’t the only issue we care about. Keep reading to learn more about the issues facing women and families in the U.S.
Access to health care
There are major pockets of the US where individuals do not have access to needed maternity care services and/or do not have either Commercial or Medicaid insurance coverage.
Although many states are undertaking efforts to extend Medicaid coverage from the mandatory 60 days postpartum to 1 year postpartum, as see on the Figure.
March for Moms strongly supports Federal and State efforts to ensure that all birthing people have access to continuous insurance from conception up to one year postpartum.
Source: Eckert, E, “It’s Past Time to Provide Continuous Medicaid Coverage For One Yea Postpartum,” Health Affairs Blog, Feburary 6, 2020. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20200203.639479/full/
Health care disparities
Black and Indigenous birthing people are 2.5-4 times more likely to experience maternal mortality than white people. These preventable deaths occur each year as a result of racial and ethnic health disparities, which stem from systemic inequities including lack of access to care and pervasive racism. Approximately 83,000 preventable deaths occur each year as a result of racial and ethnic health disparities, including high infant mortality rates.
Amnesty International. Deadly Delivery the Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA: One Year Update
CDC Maternal and Infant Health
CDC Premature Birth
March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics
CDC: Health United States 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
MomsRising.org: Raising Our Voices For Maternal Health
SOCIETY FOR MATERNAL FETAL MEDICINE