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US pregnancy deaths show massive toll on Black women in first Covid year

Nearly one-third of all women who were pregnant or had just given birth in 2020 were Black. However, Black Americans account for only a little over 13 percent of the US’s population.

Data showed that 2020 death rates for Black women were 2.9 times higher than white women. This is up from the 2.5-fold increase in 2018 and 2019. (Reuters Archive)

A government report found that black women were almost three times more likely to die in pregnancy than white women during the first year after the Covid-19 pandemic.

In general, after the pandemic, the number maternal deaths rose by 14 percent to 861, from 754 in 2019. According to the National Center for Health Statistics report

In 2020, the maternal death rate among Black women was 2.9x higher than that of white women. This is up from 2.5x in 2018 and 2019.

According to the report, about one-third (or more) of all the 2020 deaths of new mothers and pregnant women were Black. This is despite the fact that Black Americans account for just over 13 per cent of the US population.

Age risk factor

A significant risk factor was also age.

The Data shows that the death rate for women over 40 was almost eight times the rate for women under 25.

An International Data Review published last year revealed that stillbirths and maternal deaths increased by about a third during Covid-19, with overall pregnancy outcomes worsening for both mothers and babies worldwide.

This review gathered data from 40 studies in 17 countries. It found that lockdowns and disruptions to maternity services can increase pregnancy risks and lead to worse outcomes for infants and mothers.

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