By Lizellen La Follette, Marin IJ correspondent
Although the United States spends more on health care than any other country in the world, more than two women die every day during childbirth, making maternal mortality the highest in the U.S. compared with 49 other countries in the developed world. Studies show the U.S. maternal mortality increased more than 26 percent from 19 (per 100,000 births) in 2000 to 24 in 2014. Today, U.S. maternal mortality ratio is roughly 26 (per 100,000 births), with California continuing to show a declining trend, and Texas the highest number of pregnancy-related deaths (not only in the U.S., but the entire developed world).
A statistical jump in the mortality rate of expectant and new mothers over 40 is “biologically implausible,” according to the co-author of a new study.
A startling spike in recent years in the number of Texas women dying as a consequence of pregnancy or childbirth has spurred a furious debate over whether deep funding cuts to reproductive health services are to blame.
A peer-reviewed study published in the quarterly journal Birth could add a new dimension to the argument. It attributes part, though not all, of the increase in Texas’ maternal mortality rate—which is among the highest of any state—to a statistical mirage caused by misreporting on death certificates.
The number of women who are dying during pregnancy, or soon after giving birth, has risen nationwide, and a new report shows an alarming 87% spike in deaths in Texas. As of 2015, the maternal mortality rate in Texas is 32.5 per 100,000 live births, and the increase accounts for around 50 to 60 additional deaths per year in Texas.
“We think there is a very significant problem in Texas,” says Marian MacDorman, a research professor at the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the lead author of the new study, published in the journalBirth.