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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Lukas

Maternal Health Death Rates

Maternal death rates across the globe have decreased significantly from 2000 to 2017 by 38 percent. The cause for concern remains because of the alarming numbers of deaths per live births - 211 per 100,000. . The two largest factors contributing to these numbers are the socioeconomic statuses of pregnant women and the consistent racial disparities we see perpetuated into our healthcare system.

In a case study done by SSM Popul Health, the study discusses the considerable racial disparities amongst different races in our healthcare system.lack women are over 3 times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women. This study also mentioned how Black women are more likely to give birth to babies that are underweight and premature. In a study done by the CDC discussing racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy related deaths, they reveal that “ Non-Hispanic black (black) and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) women experienced higher PRMRs (pregnancy-related mortality rate) (40.8 and 29.7, respectively) than all other racial/ethnic populations (white PRMR was 12.7, Asian/Pacific Islander PRMR was 13.5 and Hispanic PRMR was 11.5)”. The CDC recognizes the detrimental effects that these deaths can cause upon families. There is discussion on this issue - but how do we fix this? The main issue boils down to privilege and access to resources .tThe inequality that many ethnic groups face (African Americans, Native Americans) results in the disproportionate delineation of these ethnic groups putting others at an advantage. The CDC is offering 45 million dollars over 5 years to MMRCs (Maternal Mortality Review Committees) to help close the gap in Maternal Health. Although this is just a start,it will pave the way for others to have access to resources and to improve their pregnancy , not only for them but for their child.

Multilevel studies have found in the past year that socioeconomic status has played a large role in maternal mortality. Studies have shown the correlation between area-level income inequality and life expectancy which can be affected by the geographical location in which you live, accessibility of healthcare resources , and how your race. Studies suggest that the effects of income inequality happen on larger geographical levels such as metropolitan areas, states, and countries as opposed to smaller geographical areas levels. The study by SSM Populsuppors the claim that there are strong associations between maternal mortality and women's education, health insurance, and health expenditure.

Although there is no quick fix , there are steps that can be taken to provide knowledge, educate people, and create awareness about the alarming disparities that pregnant women face.

Work Cited Page

Vilda, Dovile, et al. “Income Inequality and Racial Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Mortality in the US.” SSM - Population Health, Elsevier, 28 Aug. 2019,

“Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Sept. 2019,

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