Pregnancy is often a happy time for expectant moms and parents in Idaho as they await the arrival of their children. However, a scary and tragic trend is occurring as more and more new mothers are dying. This is what to know about the significant rise in maternal deaths.
Maternal deaths sharply rose in 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more women died during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth in 2021 compared with previous years. This marked a 40% rise compared to 2020. The United States also has a much higher rate of these deaths than any other developed country, with Black mothers being three times more likely to die than those of other races.
Reasons for more maternal deaths
Sadly, this rise in maternal deaths is preventable. Many affected women lacked access to the health care or health insurance they need. The Biden Administration acknowledges the problem and aims to expand Medicaid coverage so that lower-income women are able to get the healthcare they need throughout their pregnancies and during the postpartum period. The latter is when women are more likely to die due to inadequate care.
Black women are significantly marginalized even when they have all the right resources; however, they are more likely to not be taken seriously by doctors, which often leads to complications.
One such woman, an epidemiologist at the CDC, developed complications mere weeks after giving birth. She went to the hospital complaining about symptoms such as severe headaches and extreme leg swelling but was turned away. She died at home, leaving her baby daughter motherless. The woman’s mother spoke out and stated that racism was behind the medical negligence that ended her daughter’s life.
Women should not have to die during what should be the most joyous times of their lives. Doctors have a duty to “first do no harm” and provide all women with the care they need during and after pregnancy.