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Maternal Mortality Rates On the Rise Among African-Americans in California

By Meredith Carroll |

African-American woman

Experts call the maternal mortality rate of African-American women in California "shocking"

More African-American women are dying from pregnancy-related complications, according to a report released earlier this week on maternal deaths by the California Department of Public Health.

Excessive gestational weight gain, and medical problems from C-sections were contributing factors among African-American, low-income and less-educated women. The rate of women dying as a result of pregnancies has increased at a “statistically significant” pace.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the report also indicated that, “more than a third of pregnancy-related deaths were determined to have had a good to strong chance of being prevented and some causes of death appeared to be more preventable than others.”

Experts say that statistically speaking, it’s safer to give birth in Bosnia than California.

African-American women were more than four times more likely than Caucasian women to die from childbirth, and women without high school degrees were four times as likely to die as college graduates. The report also indicated that some women aren’t getting the C-sections they need, while others are getting them when they’re not necessary.

Maternal mortality is defined as a woman who dies from a pregnancy-related cause 42 days or less after giving birth.

In order to help reduce the number of pregnancy-related deaths, state health officials in California are expanding the Black Infant Health Program to include more outreach for expectant African-American mothers.

Image: Creative Commons

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About Meredith Carroll

meredith-carroll

Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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