Maternal Deaths Surge To Highest Rate Since 1965

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James Lynch Contributor
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The number of American women who died during pregnancy or shortly after surged to its highest rate since 1965, the National Center for Health Statistics said on Thursday, the WSJ reported.

Maternal deaths rose by 40% to 1,205 in 2021, up from 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019, increasing the maternal mortality rate to 33 per 100,000 live births, the highest since 1965, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported. Black women made up 30% of maternal deaths, despite black people making up 14% of the U.S. population, per Census Data. (RELATED: Birth Rates Spike Among Women In Their 30s And 40s, CDC Report Says)

Hispanic women had a higher maternal mortality rate than white women, and maternal deaths were more common with women 40 years or older in 2021, the WSJ reported. Maternity rates in the U.S. rose 78% between 2000 and 2020 as they dropped in other developed countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) found.

France, the U.K and Canada experienced eight, 10 and 11 deaths per 100,000 live births, the WSJ reported. Leading causes of pregnancy related deaths include infection or sepsis, cardiomyopathy, hemorrhage and other cardiovascular medical conditions, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) says.

Covid-19 complications and rising obesity rates likely contributed to the greater maternal mortality rate, the WSJ noted. Nearly 42% of American adults are considered obese, up from 30.5% in 1999, according to the CDC. Obesity can lead to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and other causes of premature death.