Dying to give birth: Maternal mortality rate on the rise in US

NewImageThe maternal mortality rate across most of the US increased by 27 percent from 2000 to 2014, new study finds, adding that the rate is actually higher than official estimates because states do not uniformly report pregnancy status on death certificates.

The last calculation of the US maternal mortality rate occurred in 2007, when it was 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. According to researchers responsible for the study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, that figure is too low because the estimate was made without accurate data. At the time, not all US states had adopted a “pregnancy question” on their standard death certificates, which became an accepted addition to forms in 2003.

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‘A national embarrassment’: Maternal mortality rate rises in the U.S.: https://t.co/6RF1TSrM3r via @commonhealth

Maternal mortality is defined as the “death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.”

Outside of California and Texas – which were not included because their trends were “markedly different” from other states and would have skewed the results – the actual maternal mortality rate in the US in 2007 was 21.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, the researchers found, a 68 percent increase from the official reported average.