A new report by the Centers for Disease Control shows the mortality rate of mothers has dramatically increased.

Missouri is much worse than the average — our state has one of the highest rates of death during and after pregnancies.

Our state ranks 44th in the nation, with a 2019 maternal mortality rate of 40.7 per 100,000. The national average is 29.6, according to an October 2019 report by the Center for Health Economics and Policy.

Statistics also show a disparity between whites and blacks, with black women nearly three times more likely to die during pregnancy or while giving birth.

The maternal mortality rate often is used to indicate the level of health care in general within an area.

What are the causes of the deaths?

The Center for Health Economics and Policy report said chronic health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and chronic heart disease, increase the risk of complications for pregnant women. Other factors for putting expecting mothers at a greater risk are older maternal age, multiparity (having given birth to five or more children), obesity and lack of health insurance coverage.

The increased usage of C-sections in the U.S. has also been linked to higher maternal mortality rates. Some also blame a lack of access to health care for driving up the rate.

The Missouri Hospital Association is working with agencies and state lawmakers to address the issue, WGEM-TV recently reported.

One thing Missouri has done recently is to join the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health. It calls itself a “national data-driven maternal safety and quality improvement initiative based on proven implementation approaches to improving maternal safety and outcomes in the U.S.” The goal is to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and severe morbidity across the United States.

We hope Missouri lawmakers take note of this growing problem and look for solutions during the recently started legislative session.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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