Studies Find Maternal Mortality Rising, Ethnic Disparities Continue
Maternal mortality rates in California are increasing, and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths persist across the state, according to studies, the HealthyCal reports (Fulton, HealthyCal, 1/9).
Maternal Mortality Rates Increasing
A report released by the state Department of Public Health in 2011 found that pregnancy-related deaths in California increased fromÂ eight deaths per 100,000 live births in 1999 to 14 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008 (California Healthline, 4/27/11).
A report released in November 2012 from the California HealthCare Foundation determined several possible reasons for the increase in maternal mortality rates, including:
- Changes in the way maternal mortality is reported;
- An increase in artificial reproduction methods and cesarean sections;
- An increase in the number of women having children later in life;
- An increase in the number of pregnant women with chronic diseases, such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes; and
- Limited access to quality prenatal care (HealthyCal, 1/9).
CHCF publishes California Healthline.
Disparities in Maternal Mortality
The DPH study found that black women were about four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women of other racial or ethnic groups.
According to the study, the maternal mortality rate among black California women in 2008 was 36.1 per 100,000 live births, compared with 9.6 per 100,000 live births among white women and 8.5 per 100,000 live births among Hispanic women (California Healthline, 4/27/11).
The CHCF study found that black women in the state had 41.1 deaths per 100,000 live births over a three-year moving average from 2007 to 2009.According to the HealthyCal, health care professionals said that they believe black women are more susceptible to potential causes of maternal mortality, such as chronic health conditions and a lack of access to quality prenatal care (HealthyCal, 1/9). 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.