CDC: Maternal mortality disparities have worsened

Most recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the United States still has the worst maternal mortality rates in the developed world, which is a figure largely driven by maternal health disparities between races.

The data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, indicated that the overall maternity rate in 2020 was 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births. 

The newest statistics that have been released represent a relatively significant hike from 2019, when the maternal mortality rate was 20.1 deaths for every 100,000 live births.

As these numbers have been released, the nation has been considering more deeply the racial disparities that exist within the healthcare system.

After the 2019 report from the CDC pointing to glaring health disparities leading to a higher rate of maternal mortality among black women, even once social factors had been considered, maternal health has come into the spotlight. Still, the U.S. is not seeing changes yet as a result of that conversation as the most current data points highlight.

In the year 2020, there were 861 maternal deaths in total, which are 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. CDC analysis found that 2019 saw 794 maternal deaths.

As the overall maternal mortality rate worsened from 2019 to 2020, the study found that the disparities between women of different races deepened as well in relation to maternal mortality.

The death rate in 2020 for non-Hispanic black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, which is 2.9 times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white women at 19.1 deaths per 100,000 births. Still, deaths for Hispanic women fell even lower at 18.2 deaths per 100,000 births.




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