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Black Maternal Health Week sheds light on alarming disparities as CDC reports rising death rates

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Black Maternal Health Week has begun to raise awareness about the disparities Black people face challenges when they have children. The CDC said black women in the United States are three times as likely to die from pregnancy complications compared to white women The numbers are worse in Philadelphia.

It is an alarming increase maternal mortality rate in the US continues to rise slowly.

The latest CDC data from 2021 shows that more than 1,200 women have died from pregnancy complications, compared to 754 deaths in 2019.

“The situation is even worse for black mothers, because their maternal mortality rate is more than twice that of white patients or Hispanic patients.” Dr. Tochi Iroku-Malize, board chairman of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said.

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Research shows Black people have more pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia. And doctors said there is systemic racism and discrimination in health care.

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In Philadelphia, black people are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white people.

The leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths are mental health problems, followed by excessive bleeding, heart disease, infections, blood clots, high blood pressure and lack of access to proper healthcare.

“You have a hospital closure. That’s why we call them some job deserts where hospitals have closed their labor and delivery units,” Iroku-Malize said.

Delaware County Memorial Hospital and Hahnemann Hospital recently closed in the Philadelphia region.

The CDC said more than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.

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Women are advised to seek medical attention for any irregularities or concerns.

Doctors say people need to understand that more than half of maternal deaths occur up to a year after birth.

“Maternal health care does not stop after the patient gives birth,” says Iroku-Malize.

The Philadelphia Health Department has created a program called Organized Voices For Action to help reduce high maternal mortality.

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