After the COVID spike, US pregnancies fell in 2022
New data shows that the number of deaths among pregnant women in the United States fell to 2022 from six decades ago.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1,200 U.S. mothers died in 2021 while pregnant or shortly after giving birth. According to preliminary agency data, there were 733 maternal fatalities in 2022. However, the final number will likely be higher. The final tally was released Thursday.
Officials claim the 2022 maternal mortality rate will be close to pre-pandemic levels. However, it’s not a great rate: It was at its highest level decades before COVID-19.
“From the very worst to the most awful? Omari Maynard, a New Yorker who lost her partner in childbirth in 2019, said it was not an accomplishment.
The CDC lists women who die during pregnancy, childbirth, and up to 42 days following birth. The most common causes are excessive bleeding, blood vessel blockages, and infections.
Experts believe COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Advocates suggested that burnt-out doctors may have increased the risk by not listening to pregnant women’s concerns.
There were 33 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021. This rate was last recorded by the government in 1964.
Eugene Declercq of Boston University, a long-standing researcher on maternal mortality, said the explanations are easy to understand. “The surge was due to COVID.”
According to a new study by BMJ Global Health, pregnant women with coronavirus infection were almost eight times more likely to die than their uninfected counterparts. Previous government studies concluded that 25% of all maternal deaths between 2020 and 2021 were COVID-related. This means the pandemic’s more significant impact on healthcare or coronavirus infection caused increased maternal deaths.
Pregnant women already feel the strain on their bodies, which makes it harder for their hearts to pump. Their condition can be caused more fragile by other health issues. Then, COVID will make it even worse,” Dr Elizabeth Cherot said, chief medical officer and health officer at the March of Dimes.
It was disappointing that 2021 vaccination rates for pregnant women, especially Black women, were so low. This was partly due to the limited availability of vaccines and that until August 2021, the CDC didn’t recommend complete vaccinations for pregnant women.
Samantha Griffin, who runs a doula agency that primarily serves families of colour in Washington, D.C., stated, “Initially, there was a lot of mistrust about the vaccine in Black communities.”
She and others said that there is more to it. In 2021, the maternal mortality rate for Black women was almost three times that of white women. The maternal death rate of Hispanic American mothers in 2021 was 54% higher than that of 2020. This also outpaced the white mother’s death rate.
A lot of nurses and doctors felt burnt out after the pandemic. They also saw fewer patients in person.
Griffin stated that at the time, providers “needed to take snap decisions and perhaps not listen as much to their patients.” “Women were saying they believed something was wrong and weren’t being heard.”
Maynard, a 41-year-old Brooklyn resident, stated that he and his partner had experienced this in 2019.
Shamony Gibson, a healthy 30-year-old, was ready to have their second baby. She was happy until her contractions stopped progressing, and she had to have a Cesarean section.
Although the operation was more complicated than expected, their son Khari was born in September. Maynard stated that Shamony started complaining of chest pains and breathlessness a few days later. He said doctors advised her to relax and allow her body to recover from the pregnancy.
Maynard stated that Gibson did not use illicit drugs and that this was the initial concern for firefighters and paramedics. Her health deteriorated over a week after giving birth, and she begged to go to the hospital. Her heart stopped, and her loved ones called for help.
She was taken to the hospital and died of a lung clot the next day. Her son was only 13 days old.
Maynard, an artist now doing speaking engagements for maternal health advocates, said she needed to be heard.