The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that over 84 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States between 2017 and 2019 were “preventable,” while the remaining 15 percent of deaths were nonpreventable.
The Maternal Mortality Review Committees reviewed 1,018 pregnancy-related deaths in 36 states between 2017-19 that occurred during or within a year of pregnancy. The study concluded that most underlying causes of pregnancy-related deaths were due to mental health conditions, hemorrhage, or cardiac and coronary conditions. Interestingly, race and ethnicity contributed to the variation in the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths. For example, the underlying cause of death among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women was related to mental health while cardiac and coronary conditions were the top causes for non-Hispanic black women.
About 53 percent of deaths were within seven days and one year after giving birth and over 80 percent of people who died lived in urban counties, while 18 percent were found in rural ones. A death was considered preventable by a committee if was determined that “at least some chance of the death being averted by one or more reasonable changes to patient, community, provider, facility, and/or systems factors.”
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