Monday, March 13, 2023

NC Policy Watch

The death rate in in North Carolina for women within 42 days of giving birth doubled from 2019 to 2021, according to CDC data released by the investigative news organization MuckRock.

The death rate in 2019 was 22 per 100,000 births. The next year, the rate per 100,000 births increased to 29 then spiked to 44 in 2021.

“It’s a huge jump, especially in such a short period of time,” said Keisha Bentley-Edwards, a Duke University researcher who studies health equity. Black women continued to be more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes.

“The biggest thing it shows is how fragile Black maternal health is,” Bentley-Edwards said in an interview.

The US has the highest maternal mortality rate among high-income countries, according to a Commonwealth Fund study. The nation’s maternal death rate worsened in the pandemic, the US Government Accountability Office and university researchers reported.

The national CDC data that MuckRock released last week focused on three states — including North Carolina. It showed not only the dramatic increase in maternal mortality but also the disproportionate impact on women of color.