CNN reports that the number of women dying each year due to pregnancy or childbirth in the United States has remained steady and some women remain more at risk of death than others, according to a new government report.  In 2018, the year with the most recent national data, a total of 658 women in the United States died while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy, according to new data published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics Reports released on Thursday.  Three in five pregnancy-related deaths in the US are preventable, report says.  Maternal death was defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of being pregnant, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or the management of the pregnancy. These maternal deaths in the new report do not include women who died by suicide or homicide.

In 2018, there were 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States, according to the report. When that number was broken down by race and age, significant disparities emerged. The maternal death rate among black women was 37.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, a rate up to three times the rates for non-Hispanic white and Hispanic women, the report said. The data also showed the maternal death rate among women 40 and older was 81.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, almost eight times the number for women under 25.

Public health concern.

Researchers have known that the maternal death rate in the United States remains a public health concern, and that about 60% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable without much cost or trouble. Healthcare changes including losing insurance, or having limited insurance that may not cover the necessary testing and care may have something to do with this downward trend in catching preventable losses for maternal death in the United States.

Disparities in health care delivery.

According to Dr. Maureen Phipps, CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or ACOG, “Maternal mortality is a complex problem with disparities in outcomes stemming from many factors, including access to care, standardization of care, bias, and racism. Access to reliable, consistent data year after year is critical to establishing benchmarks, setting goals, and measuring progress towards improving outcomes.”

Medical errors.

Qualified doctors and hospitals make thousands of serious errors every year that may lead to death or serious injuries in the United States. These medical errors are underreported and there is no law requiring doctors to publicly admit them, but the increase in maternal mortality rates has placed obstetrics and gynecology practitioners under increased scrutiny in search of methods to reverse this negative healthcare trend.

Need for legal counsel.

Mismanagement or medical malpractice can probably be cited for a percentage of this mortality rate, and knowing how to proceed under those circumstances is paramount for necessary remedy for compensation of damages stemming from the loss of a mother, sometimes leaving behind a newborn for the family or other individuals to care for.  If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, you may need the services of a conscientious caring professional attorney to help you sort out the next steps toward damages that may help cover the costs of raising a child alone and/or other economic and non-economic damages incurred as a result of a wrongful maternal death.

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