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Pregnancy-related deaths increase in U.S., especially among blacks

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Christian Fernsby |
Pregnant black woman
America   More than 3,400 women died from pregnancy-related complications

Pregnancy-related deaths are on the rise in the United States, especially among black women, according to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Between the year 2011 and 2015, more than 3,400 women died from pregnancy-related complications in the United States about 17.2 deaths for every 1000,000 live births. The number was only 12 per 100,000 a quarter century ago, according to the study.

Among white women, 13 mothers died for every 100,000 live births. For black women, this number more than tripled, with more than 42 mothers dying for every 100,000 live births.

Of these deaths, 33 percent happened between a week and a year after birth, and leading causes were cardiovascular conditions, infection, and hemorrhage, according to the study.

The CDC report said about 60 percent of these deaths was preventable, which needs actions by states and communities where pregnant and postpartum women live, as well as the health care providers, facilities and systems that serve them.

"The bottom line is that too many women are dying largely preventable deaths associated with their pregnancies," Anne Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director, said Tuesday during a news briefing. "We have the means to identify and close gaps in the care they receive."

The rise in maternal mortality in the United States is out of step with the rest of the world. Globally, maternal mortality rate dropped about 44 percent between 1990 and 2015, according to the World Health Organization.


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