Maternal mortality rate spiked 40% in 2021, CDC report finds

In 2021, the U.S. had one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country’s history, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 1,200 people died of maternal causes, which is a 40% increase from the year before

The death rate among Black Americans is nearly three times higher than white women.

It’s National Black Maternal Health Week, a week designed to build awareness, activism and community around the issue of high maternal mortality rates in the Black community.

More than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable, but it takes a team to make sure no mom falls through the cracks.

Dr. Nikki Rowan with HCA Florida Orange Park Women’s Health joined us on The Morning Show on Thursday to talk about what some are calling a crisis in the Black community.

“The playing field is not really even to begin with so there are lots of things that contribute to that,” Rowan said. “One of those things is that Black women may not be as healthy entering the pregnancy as other women. We’re more likely to be hypertensive at baseline and more likely to have anemia. One of the major causes of death is bleeding at delivery.”

Rowan points out that you have to be your own advocate. Talk with your health care provider if anything doesn’t feel right or concerns you.

Also if a woman has severe headaches, extreme swelling of hands or face, trouble breathing, heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge, or overwhelming tiredness, call your doctor.

Rowan said don’t be afraid to change providers or hire a doula if you don’t feel like you’re being heard.

A study done by Johns Hopkins in Maryland looked at medical record language and found Black patients are less likely to be believed by physicians, so sometimes you have to change doctors to get lifesaving results.

About the Author:

Anchor on The Morning Show team and reporter specializing on health issues.