Maternal Mortality Reaches Near 60-Year High


Pregnant woman | Image by nattanan726/Shutterstock

The maternal mortality rate in the United States has risen to the highest level seen in almost six decades.

A report released on March 16 by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that the number of women who passed away during pregnancy or just after giving birth increased by 40% to 1,205 in 2021. This represents a significant hike compared to 861 deaths in 2020 and 754 in 2019.

A report released earlier this year found that Texas drives the national average of maternal deaths, as The Dallas Express previously reported. The Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee found that 118 women died during childbirth and pregnancy in Texas in 2019, representing roughly 20% of the national average.

Yet while the national maternal mortality rate was 20.1 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019, it rose to 23.8 in 2020 and then to 32.9 in 2021, per the report.

As such, the U.S. has become the most dangerous place among high-income nations for giving birth, per The Wall Street Journal. For comparison, Canada logged 11 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020.

Moreover, while most other countries reported a decrease in maternal mortality between 2000 and 2020, the World Health Organization found that it had actually gone up in the U.S. by 78%, per the WSJ.

Several factors have contributed to this alarming figure, with age playing an important role.

In 2021, maternal deaths were more common among women over 40 years old. Compared to mothers under age 25, these women had a 6.8 times higher maternal morbidity rate in 2021.

Underlying cardiovascular problems — which go hand-in-hand with the soaring obesity rate — have also contributed to worsening maternal health.

Obesity is a national health problem that is highly pronounced among residents of Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth in particular. It was also named a contributing factor in 21% of maternal deaths in Texas in 2019.

Previous data from the CDC point to high incidents of pregnancy-related deaths through pulmonary embolisms, uncontrolled bleeding, and disorders related to hypertension, such as preeclampsia.

More recently, doctors and health officials have cited the COVID-19 pandemic among the reasons for the high maternal mortality rate, in part because pregnant women were more susceptible to severe illness or death related to the virus.

Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, nonprofit March of Dimes’ chief medical and health officer, told CNN that pregnant women were more at risk for “being ventilated in the intensive care unit, preeclampsia and blood clots, all of those things increasing a risk of morbidity and mortality.”

In addition, as studies have indicated, many people were less likely to seek essential care during the pandemic due to lockdowns and concerns about contracting the virus, per the WSJ.

Overall, the recent report attesting to the rise in maternal mortality becomes a pill that is even harder to swallow alongside the fact that approximately 80% of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable, per the CDC.

With this in mind, making moves to improve one’s health before pregnancy is an important step toward reducing the number of maternal deaths — especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.

As Dr. Sadiya Khan, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told the WSJ, “Prepregnancy is the time to really optimize maternal outcomes.”

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11 days ago

Unhealthy people have unhealthy babies and when they give birth their unhealthy out of shape bodies are subjected to incredible stresses. It’s not shocking that they drop dead shortly thereafter. As long as lizzo is being promoted is the epitome of beauty this problem will never end.

Reply to  Bill
11 days ago

Could not agree more! It’s now okay to be a large out of shape/unhealthy individual, because you should not feel ashamed to let your body get to the point of being very unhealthy. If society continues to tell people/women that it is okay to not feel ashamed of allowing yourself to abuse you body, then this trend will be the new norm and our healthcare cost will continue to soar and the quality of healthcare will continue to decline. Obesity is now cool. Insurance companies cover obesity surgeries, which most fail due to the inability of the obese patient to change eating habits post surgery. People need to wake up and realize it is not okay to not take care of your body. We all pay the price for this shameful, shameless trend.

Reply to  Bill
10 days ago

Except that can not account for a 200-300% rise in deaths of birthing mothers. There is only one thing that changed in the lat three years that specifically targeted those of child birthing age. ONLY ONE internationally, GLOBALLY!

fed up with Dallas County
fed up with Dallas County
Reply to  Djea3
10 days ago

Could it have been a depopulating mRNA gene “therapy” reclassified as a vaccine that is causing this? Just asking for a friend. 😉

10 days ago

Yeah, right. let’s look at every possible cause EXCEPT the ONLY major change in society in the last 3 years. The C-19 JAB. That is the ONLY definable difference and no so called scientist will even place the question before attempting to create statistics that show other causes.
People we are talking about a change that is 300% in three years. There is ONLY one difference that crossed all social boundaries and especially affected the target age group. TH$ C-19 Jab!
Do not look at the man behind the curtain!