CDC report: Maternal death rate for Black mothers 3x higher than white mothers  

The rates consistently increased with age with Black women over 40 being 7.8 times more likely to die during childbirth than white women.

A new report from the CDC shows that the United States is continuing to see a rise in maternal death rates with Black women still three times as likely to die in childbirth than white women. 

According to CNN, maternal death rates rose from 658 in 2018 to 754 in 2019 and 861 in 2020. 

Maternal death rates rose from 17 deaths per every 100,000 live births in 2018 to 20 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019 and nearly 24 per 100,000 in 2020.

pregnant black woman
(Photo: Fotolia)

A maternal death is defined by the World Health Organization as, “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes.” 

In 2020, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.9 times the rate for non-Hispanic white women, according to the report

The rates consistently increased with age with Black women over 40 being 7.8 times more likely to die during childbirth than white women. The information in the report was sourced from the National Vital Statistics System mortality file. 

As previously reported by theGrio’s April Ryan, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation making the middle week of April—Black Maternal Health Week.

The week was the result of work by Vice President Kamala Harris and former UN Ambassador Susan Rice. 

pregnant fertility
(Credit: Adobe Stock)

“Doctors are trained to treat a problem,” film producer Tonya Lewis Lee told theGrio. “Pregnancy is not a problem. It’s not an illness. It is an existing. So midwives and doulas have an ability to really say, ‘what’s going on with you? What do you want? How is this going to work for you?’ Whereas the doctor’s like, oh, there’s a problem, we’ve got to fix it. And they’re waiting for a problem. And sometimes when you wait for a problem, you can create a problem.”

The Biden Administration committed last year to a five-point program to support maternity care including investing $200 million to: implement implicit bias training; create State pregnancy medical home programs; bolster Maternal Mortality Review Committees; expand the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies, and help cities place early childhood development experts in pediatrician offices with a high percentage of Medicaid and CHIP patients, theGrio previously reported.

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