United States maternal death statistics that have been used for over a decade have finally been updated. The CDC released 2018 national and state maternal death estimates last week. The numbers have increased dramatically and still remain the worst of any developed country in the world.
Currently, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. In 2007, the MMR was 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. The CDC says the MMR increase largely comes from the new data and collection requirements now on standard death certificates. Starting in 2003, a checkbox requirement was placed on the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death in order to accurately record maternal deaths. The checkboxes are:
Not pregnant within past year
Pregnant at time of death
Not pregnant, but pregnant 43 days to 1 year before death
Not pregnant, but pregnant within 42 days of death
One of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the United States is hemorrhaging. In fact, according to the CDC hemorrhaging accounts for 11.2% of pregnancy-related deaths. Based on these increasing numbers since 1986 the Joint Commission, the country’s leading accreditation organization for hospitals, has created 13 new standards for perinatal safety for hospitals to properly care for women who hemorrhage during or after delivery. These standards were designed specifically to prevent, recognize and treat, as well as evaluate patients for transfer to critical care for not only hemorrhage but also severe hypertension/preeclampsia.
Texas has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world. (Source)
In Texas, cardiac events, overdose by licit or illicit prescription drugs, and hypertensive disorders are the leading causes of maternal death. (Source)
White women had the highest rates of diagnosed mental illness of any kind (depression as well as other psychological illnesses) in Texas during pregnancy and the puerperium; Black women had the second highest rates. (Source)
The best state to have a baby is Vermont and the worst state to have a baby is Mississippi. (Source)
Canadian researchers recently published an article stating that maternal mortality is not increasing in the United States because of more chronic health factors, but rather because of improved surveillance and documentation. (Source)
28 women out of 100,000 live births die per year in the United States. These statistics are based on data from 2013, the latest year data is available. (Source)
California is the only state where maternal mortality rates have gone down. (Source)
Women over 40 experience the greatest severe maternal morbidity factors in New York City and its surrounding areas. (Source)
Since maternal mortality and morbidity data is difficult to assess, experts are calling on all states to standardize its data. (Source)