MATERNAL MORTALITY: Hispanic Rate Twice That of Whites
Hispanic women are twice as likely as white women to die from pregnancy-related complications, according to a CDC study published in today's Obstetrics & Gynecology. Although the CDC earlier this year published a study indicating that the maternal mortality rate among black women was four times higher than for whites, the new study reflects the first comprehensive examination of the broader population. CDC researchers analyzed data from death and birth certificates nationwide between 1979 and 1992, and found that 25 out of every 100,000 black women died during child birth, compared to 10 out of 100,000 Hispanic women and six out of 100,000 non-Hispanic white women. Over the 14-year period, researchers found that 623 of the 3,777 U.S. women who died during pregnancy were Hispanic. Most of those deaths were attributed to dangerously high blood pressure levels. CDC researchers said, "We expected Hispanic women to fare worse than non- Hispanic white women, but we found the disparity in the risk of pregnancy-related death between black and Hispanic women striking." The Dallas Morning News reports that the maternal mortality rate between the two minority groups persists "despite similar levels of poverty and prenatal care," and researchers said the "medical mystery" warrants further investigation (Dallas Morning News, 10/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.