The United States likes to be known for leading the charge, but newly aggregated and published data shows the U.S. has increased its numbers in one area of which no country would be proud: maternal mortality. Although global death rates have fallen 44% in the past few decades, the maternal deaths in the United States have actually increased from 23 deaths per 100,000 births in 2005 to 28 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in 2013. While the research group that analyzed the data projects that rate has fallen slightly in the past two years, the increase is disturbing: the U.S. maternal mortality rate is triple what exists in Canada, Spain, or Australia. Separate analyses that were recently completed found that maternal mortality had increased by a whopping 27% for 48 states and the District of Columbia from 2000-2014 and that DC, New Jersey, Georgia, and Arkansas had especially high rates of maternal mortality. Problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity (all of which have reached epidemic level rates) have been linked to the increase in maternal mortality. Although some have argued that race factors into areas including quality of care, accessibility, and related health issues such as obesity, with poor African-American women having higher maternal mortality rates, a public health expert had this to say: “People may think this is happening because the U.S. has more minorities and poor people[…] But even if you limit the analysis to whites, we would still rank behind all other industrialized countries.” Despite being considered a leader in medical breakthroughs and research, the U.S. is one of very few developed and wealthy countries to have seen an increase in maternal mortality rate. We already knew this wasn’t the best place in the world to be a mother, but we hope the U.S. is able to start and sustain a downward trend in this area of crucial importance.

via The New York Times

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