Fri 21 October 2022:
According to a report released Wednesday, COVID19 was responsible for a dramatic increase in the number of women who died from pregnancy or childbirth complications in the United States last year, a crisis that disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic women.
The research outlines depressing national patterns for expectant mothers and their newborn children.
According to the study, there have been an increase in pregnancy-related mortality of almost 80% since 2018, with COVID-19 being a contributing factor in 25% of the 1,178 deaths reported in 2018. In addition, following years of stability, the proportion of preterm and low birthweight infants increased in 2017. Additionally, more pregnant and postpartum women are describing depressive symptoms.
“We were already in the middle of a crisis with maternal mortality in our country,” said Karen Tabb Dina, a maternal health researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This really shows that COVID-19 has exacerbated that crisis to rates that we, as a country, are not able to handle.”
After Congress requested that it assess maternal health outcomes in the 2020 coronavirus relief bill, the onpartisan US Government Accountability Office, which produced the report, examined pregnancy-related mortality.
Despite the fact that the United States has a higher maternal mortality rate than many other affluent countries, and that it had been rising in the years preceding the pandemic, COVID-19 has only made things worse for expectant mothers in this country. Pregnant women who have been infected with the virus face serious health risks.
In addition to COVID-19 restrictions and staffing shortages, pandemic stress has exacerbated depression, a common pregnancy symptom. Expectant mothers now face even more challenges in obtaining in-person medical care.
According to the report, hospitals in rural, low-income, and predominantly Black areas have reduced obstetric services.
According to the analysis, more than half of rural counties lacked a hospital that provided maternity care in 2018.
Pregnancy-related deaths for every 100,000 births climbed from 44 in 2019 to 68.9 among Black women last year. White women had death rates of 26.1 last year, a jump from 17.9 in 2019.
Death rates among Hispanics had been on the decline, but they swelled again during the pandemic from 12.6 per 100,000 in 2019 to 27.5 last year.
Black and Hispanic people have also died at higher rates from COVID-19, in part because they have less access to medical care and often work essential jobs that exposed them to the virus.
Long before COVID-19 began spreading, the stage was set for Black, low-income and rural women to receive subpar pregnancy care — putting them at further risk for their pregnancies to go wrong, according to a separate GAO report.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
FOLLOW INDEPENDENT PRESS:
TWITTER (CLICK HERE)
FACEBOOK (CLICK HERE)
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!