Thursday, October 26, 2017

Dying to give birth

Opioid use is indeed an emergency. So too is the rising mortality rate among pregnant women. Ground zero: Texas.*
A woman in the U.S., where the maternal death ratio more than doubled between 1987 and 2013, is more likely to die as a result of pregnancy-related causes than in 31 industrialized countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, aside from Mexico.


There are various theories why — persistent poverty, large numbers of women without adequate health insurance, risk factors related to stress and discrimination. All come together here in Texas, with a twist that has become one of America’s most confounding public health problems: African American women are dying of pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes here at stunningly high rates.
The maternal death rate in Texas after 2010 reached “levels not seen in other U.S. states,” according to a report compiled for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, based on figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Black women in Texas are dying at the highest rates of all. A 2016 joint report by Texas’ Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services found that black mothers accounted for 11.4% of Texas births in 2011 and 2012, but 28.8% of pregnancy-related deaths.
* See this story about the correction of Texas data

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