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Maternal Deaths Are Falling, but Severe Complications are Taking Their Place

Published in: The Hill

Even as delivery-related deaths have fallen over the last decade, new research shows that more and more people are living with the short- and long-term effects of complications during childbirth.

Severe maternal morbidity increased by 43 percent between 2008 and 2019, according to a new analysis by Premier, a private health care company, and affects Black women at an 84 percent higher rate than white women. An increasingly older maternal population is surviving childbirth at higher rates, with a 55 percent decrease in delivery-related deaths for Black women, but the maternal mortality rate remains at 20.1 per 100,000 live births — double that for Black women — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the same time, the rate of birth mothers with documented substance misuse has tripled, according to the report, and the rate of infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome has nearly doubled.

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