Alarming rising trend in Maternal Mortality Rates, despite having preventable causes! Know more

Women are facing pregnancy-related complications
Women are facing pregnancy-related complications. Credit | Shutterstock

United States: Femmes in the US reach over 200 number each year due to complications experienced during pregnancy, delivery, or any time post-delivery period.

The US is number two in the WHO ranking when it comes to the maternal mortality rate, which means that more than three hundred women die each year in the country as a result of complications associated with childbirth, the postpartum period, or pregnancy.

Maternal mortality rising trend

The maternal death rate has increased, as the current federal data reveals, even more so during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts have noted this trend and warn that the case is about to become worse.

In 2022, the Biden administration crushed the plan to tackle the maternal health crisis that the United States is currently facing. Pregnancy and childbirth are seen as “traumatic experiences” to many, and the administration stated that the deaths, life-altering complications, as well as untreated mental health and substance use disorders, all of which are preventable, are the issues that they want to address as CNN Health reported.

Efforts to track and examine maternal mortality

Visual Representation | Credit : Getty images

To have a better idea of how many women die in the USA as a result of pregnancy, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCSS) – which is a part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – asked the states’ officials to add an extra choice, named “pregnancy checkbox,” to the death certificates in order to identify whether or not a woman was pregnant at the moment.

As the analysis that inspired the plan suggested, it happened that approximately 30 percent of these pregnancy-related deaths were not detected in accordance with the situation before the measure came into force. By 2018, all 50 states legalized this alteration and exclusively referred to suicide as a cause of death.

Notable contributors to the research paper include academics from the University of British Columbia in Canada and other research institutions from all over the world who were all part of a recent study reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The investigation employed a database stratification in the National Center for Health Statistics which comprised autopsies across the nation from 1999 through 2021.

These findings seem to suggest that convenience in the use of the pregnancy checkbox may lead to an increase in dangerously misclassified maternal deaths, which, in turn, will also result in an overestimation of maternal mortality and trends in the US over the past couple of decades.

Dr. KS Joseph, a professor with the University of British Columbia’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the School of Population and Public Health, who was the lead author of the study, stated, “The pregnancy checkbox was introduced as a means to correct the underestimation of maternal mortality, but we’ve gone from a 30% underestimation to like a 300% increase in maternal mortality rate, which is a substantial overestimation,” as CNN Health reported.

The new study suggests that 38 percent of the direct obstetrical deaths and 87 percent of the indirect obstetrical deaths from 2018 to 20211 can be considered as resulting due to positive pregnancy checkbox examination,n and these deaths were associated with “increases in less specific and incidental causes of death.”

However, the researcher’s outcomes were entirely different following the “definition-based approach” in the identification of at least one mention of pregnancy among the multiple causes of death; the results were significantly different.

Rising Mortality cases

The maternal mortality rate returned to pre-NMSS rates, about a five-year increase from 9.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1999 to 2002 to 23.6 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2018 to 2021, based on a new study.

However, by using the researchers’ alternative methods, the maternal death rate was 8.2 deaths to 10.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in the same time period. They noticed that the desperate deaths of obstetrical causes, like pre-eclampsia, also fell.