Four out of five pregnancy-related deaths in the United States could have been avoided, according to a report released this week by the country’s health authorities, which recorded a very high maternal mortality rate, especially among black women.
The study analyzed the case of about 1,000 women who died between 2017 and 2019 due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related complications up to one year after childbirth.
“This report paints a much clearer picture of pregnancy-related deaths in this country,” said Wanda Barfield, of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the country’s leading federal health agency.
About 22% of deaths occurred during pregnancy, 25% on the day of delivery or the following week, and 53% before a year later.
Mental health problems (including suicide or overdose) were the first cause identified in 23% of cases, followed by bleeding (14%) or heart problems (13%).
Mortality was analyzed by committees of experts at the local level, which included gynecologists, representatives of associations, public health, etc. – is responsible for making recommendations.
These committees had access to “a variety of information to understand the circumstances of each death” and thus be able to, for example, “determine the relationship between suicide or overdose and pregnancy,” CDC’s David Goodman told AFP. .
Pregnancy or its aftermath may, for example, exacerbate mental illness, hinder access to psychiatric treatment, or even cause pain leading to substance abuse or self-harm.
A death was considered “avoidable” if there was “at least a chance” that it could have been avoided by “one or more reasonable changes” in the healthcare system or on the part of the patient or her community.
Measures recommended include better access to health insurance, improved prenatal and postnatal care, and better transport solutions to help you access the care you need.
The maternal mortality rate in the United States has been on the rise for many years and is currently one of the highest among industrialized nations.
According to data released in February, it was 23.8 deaths per 100,000 births in 2020. A figure covering strong disparities: this figure was, for example, 55.3 deaths among black women versus 19.1 among white women.