In a research article recently published in JAMA, the United States’ racial disparities in maternal morbidity are discussed. The study defines a pregnant woman to be either pregnant during the time of death or is within a one year distance from the end of her last pregnancy. The study confirms fears that maternal mortality rates are increasing. Results indicated that pregnant women deaths, by any cause, increased by 29% from 2019 to 2020.

However, for pregnant American Indian and Alaskan native women, mortality rates were significantly higher for all causes of death in comparison to non-Hispanic white women. Additionally, non-Hispanic Black pregnant women had the highest mortality rate for homicide, as well as significantly higher mortality rates across most other categories. These results are troubling, and reveal not only a maternal health crisis, but also a deep discrepancy for the racial and ethnic groups previously mentioned.

By Olivia LaMarco, Policy Intern