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Maternal Mortality Rates Jump to Record Highs in U.S., Particularly Among Black Mothers

Maternal Mortality Rates Jump to Record Highs in U.S., Particularly Among Black Mothers

According to new data from the CDC, maternal mortality rates in the United States increased sharply in 2021, with death rates among Black mothers twice as high as those of White mothers.

The data shows that in 2021, 1,205 women died due to maternal causes. This is a dramatic increase in previous years’ rates, which add to a troubling increasing trend: CDC data indicates there were 658 maternal deaths in 2018, 754 in 2019 and 861 in 2020. The World Health Organization defines maternal death 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.”

The climbing rates of maternal death over the years is shocking enough; but perhaps even more eye-opening are the significant racial disparities prevalent in these staggering statistics. Maternal death rates continue to rise for Black mothers. CDC data shows that in 2021, the maternal death rate for Black women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, which amounts to 2.6 times the rate for White women, recorded at 26.6 per 100,000 live births. Maternal death rates among Hispanic women were similar to that of White mothers, at 28 per 100,000 live births in 2021.

Researchers are trying to piece together the reasons behind these increases and disparities. One main reason researchers pointed to was the COVID-19 virus, however the maternal death crisis had long been an crisis well before the pandemic, with a large number of maternal deaths occurring that could have been prevented.

Lawmakers have taken steps to reverse this trend, including the Black Maternal “Momnibus” Act of 2021. This bill aims to provide support for Black mothers both before delivery and after, including extending eligibility for certain postpartum benefits and improving access to maternal mental health care and nutrition.

Did Your Loved One Die as a Result of Medical Negligence During Childbirth?

If you believe your loved one died due to medical negligence during her pregnancy, labor, childbirth or the postpartum period, consider speaking to an experienced and compassionate birth injury attorney. The birth injury attorneys at Grant & Eisenhofer can help you understand your potential legal options, if any, and answer any questions you may have.

Call us at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We represent families nationwide and have offices in Chicago IL, Baltimore MD, New York NY, and Wilmington DE.