OPEN MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report | 6 Sep 2019
EE Petersen, NL Davis, D Goodman, S Cox, C Syverson, K Seed, C Shapiro-Mendoza, WM Callaghan and W Barfield
Approximately 700 women die in the United States each year as a result of pregnancy or its complications, and significant racial/ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related mortality exist (1). Data from CDC’s Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System (PMSS) for 2007-2016 were analyzed. Pregnancy-related mortality ratios (PRMRs) (i.e., pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births) were analyzed by demographic characteristics and state PRMR tertiles (i.e., states with lowest, middle, and highest PRMR); cause-specific proportionate mortality by race/ethnicity also was calculated. Over the period analyzed, the U.S. overall PRMR was 16.7 pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 births. Non-Hispanic black (black) and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) women experienced higher PRMRs (40.8 and 29.7, respectively) than did all other racial/ethnic groups. This disparity persisted over time and across age groups. The PRMR for black and AI/AN women aged ≥30 years was approximately four to five times that for their white counterparts. PRMRs for black and AI/AN women with at least some college education were higher than those for all other racial/ethnic groups with less than a high school diploma. Among state PRMR tertiles, the PRMRs for black and AI/AN women were 2.8-3.3 and 1.7-3.3 times as high, respectively, as those for non-Hispanic white (white) women. Significant differences in cause-specific proportionate mortality were observed among racial/ethnic populations. Strategies to address racial/ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths, including improving women’s health and access to quality care in the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods, can be implemented through coordination at the community, health facility, patient, provider, and system levels.
* Data courtesy of Altmetric.com