Why are maternal deaths increasing in the United States?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Law Blog, Birth Injuries

Maternal deaths are on the rise in the United States. This is raising concerns among health professionals and policymakers. Several factors contribute to this increase.

Understanding these factors is necessary to address the root causes and improve maternal health outcomes.

Health care disparities

A key reason for the rise in maternal deaths is disparities in health care access. Women from low-income communities, rural areas and minority groups often face barriers to receiving timely and adequate care. These barriers include lack of insurance, transportation issues and limited availability of health care providers. As a result, many women do not receive the necessary medical attention during pregnancy and childbirth. This can lead to higher risks of complications and death.

Systemic health care issues

Systemic issues within the health care system play a role in the rising maternal death rates. The U.S. health care system has varying standards of care across different regions. Inconsistent quality of care, inadequate postpartum follow-up and insufficient support for new mothers contribute to maternal mortality. The focus on emergency interventions over preventive care leads to missed opportunities for early detection and management of potential complications.

Chronic health conditions

The prevalence of chronic health conditions among pregnant women has also contributed to the increase in maternal deaths. Obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease can complicate pregnancies. They can also increase the likelihood of severe outcomes. The rising rates of these conditions mean that more women enter pregnancy with pre-existing health issues, making pregnancy and delivery more dangerous.

Per ABC News, 1,205 U.S. women died of maternal causes in 2021, with Black and Hispanic women dying at higher rates than Caucasian women. Addressing the factors contributing to maternal deaths helps reverse this trend and ensure safer pregnancies and childbirths for women nationwide.


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