Startling New Statistics Reveal High Maternal Risks Are On The Rise For Certain Women

Statistics show that the number of women in the U.S. who die each year because of pregnancy or childbirth is steadily on the rise, according to a report published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The report defined maternal deaths as "the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy ... from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes."

The data showed this number has been slowly increasing from 2018 to 2020. Specifically, the number of maternal deaths reported in 2020 was 861, up from 754 in 2019, and 658 in 2018. Another study from 2020 published in the Commonwealth Fund, noted that the United States had the highest rate of maternal death among developed countries, adding that the rate was "unacceptably high." But are some women at a greater risk than others?

African American women have higher rates of maternal death

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), data revealed that the rate of mortality for African American women was almost three times higher than for white women. It showed that in 2020 for every 100,000 live births there were 55.3 deaths for African American women versus 19.1 deaths for white women. Additionally, rates were higher among older women of all races, and rates increased with age. In 2020, 13.8 out of 100,000 live births resulted in death among women under 25. That number increased to 22.8 deaths for women between 25 and 39, and 107 deaths in women over 40.

The study did not include a measure of any potential impact COVID-19 has had on maternal death. A spokesperson for the NCHS told CNN that "the contribution of COVID-19 to increases in maternal deaths has not yet been fully examined by NCHS," adding that an "initial review of cause of death among maternal deaths indicates that it may be difficult to discern the role of COVID-19 as it contributed to a maternal death."