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Pregnancy and race

More Black Women Suffer Pregnancy-Related Deaths, Study Finds

More Black Women Suffer Pregnancy-Related Deaths, Study Finds

A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that black women were 3.5 times more likely to die during childbirth than white women. The study found that black mothers had higher rates of mortality across all age groups, education levels, and even in states with low rates of maternal deaths. It is estimated that 60% of all maternal deaths are preventable, and the reason for the racial disparity in deaths is access to health care, and the quality of that care (or lack thereof).

“We are missing opportunities to identify risk factors prior to pregnancy, and there are often delays in recognizing symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum, particularly for black women,” Dr. Lisa Hollier, immediate past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in a statement.

Approximately 700 women die in the United States each year as a result of pregnancy, which is the worst in the world when comparing high-income countries. The CDC study examined pregnancy-related deaths (the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) between 2011 and 2015. The rate of death for black mothers (42.8) was 3.5 times higher than their white counterparts (13).

“Racial inequality is a reality in healthcare, and it can lead to preventable deaths for mothers and expecting mothers where risk factors and symptoms are overlooked or ignored,” said Leah Barron, a partner at Brown & Barron, a specialist in birth injury cases.

According to the New York Times, mothers should never ignore the following symptoms:

  • chest pain

  • shortness of breath

  • heavy bleeding or a slow-healing C-section incision

  • redness or swelling on the leg (potential blog clot)

  • fever (potential infection), and

  • headaches.

Preventable Deaths Related to Pregnancy

If you suspect your loved one might have died a preventable death related to pregnancy due to hospital negligence, we have a proven track record of protecting patients’ rights against large hospitals and insurance companies, and we’re prepared to fight for you, too.

Contact Brown & Barron, LLC today at (410) 698-1717 to schedule a free consultation with our team.


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