CDC Reports Drop in US Maternal Mortality Rates After Spike

CDC Reports Drop in US Maternal Mortality Rates After Spike

The maternal mortality rate in the United States has seen a significant decline in 2022. Federal data reveals that there were 817 maternal deaths during the year, which translates to a rate of 22.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, down from 32.9 in 2021. This reduction in maternal deaths is attributed, in part, to the decline in COVID-19 deaths, which have disproportionately affected pregnant women. Despite this overall improvement, racial disparities persist. The mortality rate for Black women was reported at 49.5 per 100,000 births, substantially higher than the rates for white women at 19.0 and Hispanic women at 16.9.

In light of these disparities, efforts such as the March of Dimes education campaign are being implemented to address specific risks, encouraging the consideration of preventive measures like low-dose aspirin for high blood pressure disorders in pregnancy. Meanwhile, provisional data for 2023 have also been released by the CDC, although these figures are expected to undergo further analysis and may change.

The improvement in maternal mortality rates in the U.S. follows a significant spike during the pandemic in 2021, when 1,205 maternal deaths were recorded—the highest level in over 50 years. Health experts caution that while the recent decrease is encouraging, many health systems are still grappling with the after-effects of the pandemic. Furthermore, there has been some scrutiny over the accuracy of maternal mortality data, with a study suggesting that the implementation of a pregnancy checkbox on death certificates might have inflated previous numbers. Despite such concerns, professionals like Dr. Veronica Gillispie-Bell emphasize the importance of trusting the CDC's analysis and highlight that state maternal mortality review committees are working towards policy changes that could further reduce these rates.


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