SEATTLE The United States is among just eight countries in the world to experience an increase in maternal mortality since 2003 joining Afghanistan and countries in Africa and Central America, according to a new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
The study, "Global, regional, and national levels and causes of maternal mortality during 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013," published May 2 in The Lancet, ranked the United States number 60 in the list of 180 countries on maternal deaths, compared to its rank of 22 in 1990, demonstrating how it has fallen behind globally. By contrast, China rose to number 57, up from number 116 in 1990.
In the US, 18.5 mothers died for every 100,000 live births in 2013, more than double the figures for maternal mortality in Saudi Arabia (7) and Canada (8.2), and more than triple that for the United Kingdom (6.1).
The biggest increase in maternal mortality by age group occurred in women 20-24. In 1990, 7.2 women in this age group died for every 100,000 live births and in 2013, 14 died for every 100,000 live births.
The study findings focus on measuring the trends in maternal mortality, but the researchers offer a range of possible explanations for the disparities between the US and other countries, including lack of access to prenatal care and other health services, high rates of caesarian section deliveries, and pregnancies complicated by obesity, diabetes, and other conditions.
"For American women, high-risk pregnancies and the number of women with inadequate access to preventive and maternal health care are just two potential causes of this trend," said study author Dr. Nicholas Kassebaum, Assistant Professor at IHME. "The good news is that most maternal deaths are preventable, and we can do better."
The first installment in IHME's new updates to the Global
|Contact: Rhonda Stewart|
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation