Voz media US Voz.us

US has the highest maternal mortality rate among high-income countries

A Commonwealth Fund report revealed that in 2022, the country recorded 22 maternal deaths per 100,000 births.

Mujer embarazada. Imagen de archivo.


A new report from the Commonwealth Fund revealed that the United States remains the country with the highest rate of maternal deaths among the "high-income" nations analyzed in the study:

The analysis compared the country's maternal mortality rate (about 22 deaths per 100,000 births) with that of other nations in Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania:

The United States faces continuing challenges in reducing maternal mortality. ... In 2022 there were approximately 22 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births in the United States — far above rates for other high-income countries.

Black women have highest maternal mortality rate

The analysis concluded that the maternal mortality rate is highest among black women (49.5 deaths per 100,000 births). The figure is more than double the national average of 22.3.

Other groups are below average:

- Hispanic American: 16.9 deaths per 100,000.

- White: 19 per 100,000.

- Asian American: 13.2 per 100,000.

Most deaths are preventable

The report also revealed that more than 60% of deaths occur after childbirth and the majority of those deaths (two out of three) occur in the postpartum period:

The majority of deaths in the U.S. occur in the postpartum period, from one day after giving birth to a full year later. ... Still, more than one of five deaths occur during pregnancy itself, with heart conditions and stroke the leading causes.

According to the researchers, "In the first week postpartum, severe bleeding, high blood pressure, and infection are the most common contributors to maternal deaths, while cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of late deaths."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 80% could be avoided.

The study also revealed that the U.S. has the second fewest number of midwives and obstetricians on the list: "there are roughly 12 ob-gyns and four midwives per 1,000 live births in the U.S." The authors concluded:

Our findings suggest that an undersupply of maternity providers, especially midwives, and lack of access to comprehensive postpartum support, including maternity care coverage and mandated paid maternity leave, are contributing factors. Because both these factors disproportionately affect women of color, centering equity in any future policy changes will be a key to addressing the crisis.

Nordic countries have the lowest maternal mortality rate

Among the 14 countries studied (Australia, Canada, the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, Chile, Japan and North Korea), Norway was the only nation that recorded zero maternal deaths. The next-lowest on the list were:

- Switzerland: 1.2 deaths per 100,000 births.

- Sweden: 2.6 deaths per 100,000 births.

- Netherlands: 2.8 deaths per 100,000 births.

For the analysis, the group used the latest available data from the CDC and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).