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Maternal mortality rates for Black women continue to rise

Among Black people in 2020, there were 55 maternal deaths per 100,000 births — almost triple the rate for whites.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — New CDC data looking at maternal mortality in the United States shows the rate for non-Hispanic Black women was almost three times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white women in 2020. 

Overall in 2020, there were almost 24 deaths per 100,000 births, or 861 deaths total — numbers that reflect mothers dying during pregnancy, childbirth or the year after. The rate was 20 per 100,000 in 2019. 

Among Black people, there were 55 maternal deaths per 100,000 births — almost triple the rate for whites.

The report also shows the rate for women age 40 or older was almost eight times higher than the rate for women under age 25.

The rising maternal death rate identified in the report is nothing new as the rate of pregnancy-related mortality in the U.S. has been rising steadily over the past three decades. 

Dr. Gregg Silverman joined First Edition to explain why the rates of mortality are increasing. 

"The answer is unclear," Silverman said. "It seems to be that the rise in mortality in women has to do in rates of pregnancies above age 25 or above age 30. The older you get the more likely it is that you are going to have complications from pregnancy."

Silverman said the answer to why Black women have higher rates of mortality is unclear at this time. 

"The only thing that really locks out of this is whether or not you are of African American descent, that is the one big push that says 'yes you are at a higher risk for mortality' and that is exactly unclear at this point why," Silverman said. 

You can watch the interview in full above. 


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