CDC analysis shows more than 80% of maternal deaths in the US are preventable

Pregnant woman holding a pregnant belly on a black background
  • Of the 1,018 deaths, 839 occurred one year after birth, with mental health conditions being the leading underlying cause, according to the analysis.
  • Black mothers, three times more likely to die than white mothers, accounted for nearly a third of all deaths from 2017-2019.
  • More than 90% of Indigenous maternal deaths are preventable, most from mental health conditions and bleeding.

A staggering number of maternal deaths in the United States are thought to be preventable, according to a federal analysis of maternal mortality data released Monday.

More than 80%, or about 4 out of 5 maternal deaths in a two-year period, due to preventable causesreported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Analysis of pregnancy-related deaths from 2017 to 2019, which occurred disproportionately among women of color including Black and Indigenous, based on maternal mortality review committee data. These are multidisciplinary groups based in 36 states that specialize in investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of mothers.

Of the 1,018 deaths, 839 occurred up to a year after birth, with mental health conditions – death by suicide or drug overdose – the leading underlying cause followed by excessive bleeding or bleeding, according to reports. About 22% of deaths occur during pregnancy and a quarter on the due date or within a week of giving birth.

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