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

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  • Of the 1,018 deaths, 839 occurred up to a year after delivery, with mental illness as the main underlying cause, according to the analysis.
  • Black mothers, who are three times more likely to die than white mothers, accounted for nearly a third of deaths between 2017-2019.
  • More than 90% of the deaths of Indigenous mothers were preventable, most of which were due to mental illness and bleeding.

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

More than 80%, or about 4 in 5 maternal deaths in a two-year period, were due to preventable causes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found.

The analysis of pregnancy-related deaths from 2017 to 2019, which are disproportionately common among women of color, including black and Indigenous women, is based on numbers from maternal mortality assessment committees. These are multidisciplinary groups based in 36 states that investigate the circumstances surrounding maternal mortality.

Of the 1,018 deaths, 839 occurred up to a year after delivery, with mental health problems — deaths from suicide or overdose — the leading underlying cause followed by extreme bleeding or bleeding, the report said. About 22% of deaths occurred during pregnancy and a quarter on the day of delivery or within a week of delivery.

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