Posted on January 31, 2023 by Amanda Cerreto

Examining mortality among pregnant women

Examining mortality among pregnant women

January 31, 2023 – In an article published by JAMA Open Network, Jeff Howard, associate professor of public health, examines mortality causes and rates among pregnant and recently pregnant women.

Research has suggested trends of worsening maternal health associated with depression, substance use, and severe maternal morbidity in the US over the past decade. All-cause and drug/alcohol poisoning mortality rates for pregnant and recently pregnant women also increased in the US from 2015 to 2019.

Howard and his team examined all-cause and cause-specific mortality rates among pregnant and recently pregnant women from 2019 to 2020 and compared mortality rates by race and ethnicity.

The women’s mortality rate increased from 54 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019 to 70 in 2020, the researchers found. Mortality rates increased 22% for pregnancy-related causes and 36% for nonpregnancy causes.

Causes not related to pregnancy accounted for more than half of deaths in 2020. Accidental drug poisoning was the most common, followed by motor vehicle collisions and homicide. The mortality rate involving suicide did not significantly change.

The researchers also identified significant racial and ethnic disparities. Mortality rates were three to five times higher among American Indian or Alaska Native women for every cause except suicide. Black women had similarly high mortality rates across all causes, with 5.3 times higher risk of dying from homicide.

Read more in the news:

CNN article

New York Times article

San Antonio Express News article

Axios article

— Amanda Cerreto