Texas state sees an unusual spike in childbirth-related deaths in recent years. Maternal mortality rate in Texas nearly doubled between 2010 and 2012 and 2012
In United States, pregnancy-related deaths are on the rise, according to a new study.
The number of U.S. women who die during or immediately after the childbirth have increased by 27 percent from 2000 to 2014, making U.S. the only developing country where maternal mortality rate is actually rising over the past few decades. Many other countries have reported a drastic decline in maternal deaths while the surge in mortality rate across U.S. is difficult to explain.
“There is sadly no magic bullet that explains what is behind the high levels of maternal mortality in the United States,” said Rachel Ward, managing director of research at Amnesty International U.S.
“It is a combination of factors that speak to the systematic problems of failing to provide affordable, accessible, quality health services to all women in the United States.”
For the study, researchers obtained data from 58 states alongside the District of Columbia and revealed that maternal mortality rate increased from 18.8 in 2000 to 23.8 in 2014. In other words, nearly 24 women died as a result of pregnancy related complications per 100,000 births in 2014 compared to 19 per 100,000 in 2000. The average maternal mortality rate in developed countries is 12 deaths per 100,000 births, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
The situation is particularly worst in Texas where maternal mortality rate nearly doubled in just two years, between 2010 and 2012. In 2012, 148 Texas women died from pregnancy-related causes compared to 72 deaths in 2010. Researchers are unable to find any solid reason behind the spike.
“In the absence of war, natural disaster or severe economic upheaval the doubling of a mortality rate within a 2-year period in a state with almost 400,000 annual births seems unlikely.” Authors of the study wrote.
Maternal mortality rate is an important indicator of quality of health care across the nation and it somehow reflects inequality in health care service. Accessibility of health care is a major issue especially for women in rural areas.
Based on the statistics, United States is falling far short of United Nations Millennium Development Goal of 75% reduction in maternal mortality by 2015.
“There is a need to redouble efforts to prevent maternal deaths and improve maternity care for the 4 million U.S. giving birth each year.” Study concludes.