Data shows that in 2019 maternal mortality rates in the U.S. spiked, with major disparities in age and race. It was found that black people die from pregnancy-related causes at a higher rate than non-Hispanic white people and Hispanic people.
The World Health Organization defined maternal death as “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of pregnancy termination, regardless of the duration or site of pregnancy, and from any cause related to pregnancy or its management.”
Assistant Professor, Rose Molina, MD, MPH, said the increase in death proves the vast inequities between racial and age groups. She also said the mortality rate is similar to that seen in low-income countries.
Public officials have finally begun acknowledging this huge issue. In December 2019, the former U.S. Surgeon General released a Call to Action to try to resolve the problem. Along with the call to action, the House of Representatives called the maternal mortality rate a “national disgrace,” and demanded action to lessen the number of annual mortalities. Their goal was to increase the number of midwives, reduce racial disparity, and increase access to mental health assistance.
Molina claimed that despite the increased awareness of this issue, the medical community must continue examining racial disparities and policies that shape the experiences of patients who are pregnant or dealing with postpartum transition.
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