US Sets Tragic Record

( – In an embarrassing finding, the United States holds the tragic record for the highest maternal mortality rate among wealthy countries despite a temporary reduction towards the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was outlined in a recent analysis by The Commonwealth Fund, which indicated that the U.S. experiences approximately 22 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, a figure significantly higher than that of other developed nations in Europe, Asia, South America, and Oceania.

The 2022 data used for this comparison underscores a persistent disparity in maternal health outcomes.

Notably, Nordic countries along with Switzerland exhibited the lowest maternal mortality rates among the 17 countries evaluated, with Norway reporting no maternal deaths in 2022.

The situation is particularly dire for black women in the U.S., who face a maternal mortality rate more than double the national average, the report highlights.

Postpartum fatalities constitute over 60 percent of these deaths, with two-thirds occurring within the year following childbirth.

The initial week of the postpartum period is often marked by severe complications such as bleeding, high blood pressure, and infections.

Subsequently, heart muscle disease emerges as the predominant cause of mortality in the later weeks and months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80 percent of these deaths are preventable.

“While the number of maternal deaths is lower in 2022 than in earlier years—primarily because there are fewer COVID-related maternal deaths—the United States faces continuing challenges in reducing maternal mortality,” the report states.

Further findings reveal a stark insufficiency in the number of midwives and obstetricians-gynecologists (ob-gyns) per live births in the U.S., ranking it second to last among wealthy nations.

This shortage is particularly pronounced when compared to Chile, which boasts 92 providers per 1,000 live births, in stark contrast to the U.S.’s 16 per 1,000.

“Our findings suggest that an undersupply of maternity providers, especially midwives, and lack of access to comprehensive postpartum support, including maternity care coverage and mandated paid maternity leave, are contributing factors. Because both these factors disproportionately affect women of color, centering equity in any future policy changes will be a key to addressing the crisis,” the researchers conclude.

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