Despite Worldwide Decrease, U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Increased 26.6% since 2000

“..Despite the United Nations Millennium Development Goal for a 75% reduction in maternal mortality from 1990–2015 the reported (unadjusted) U.S. maternal mortality rate more than doubled from 2000–2014. As we’ve shown, most of the reported increase in maternal mortality rates from 2000–2014 was due to improved ascertainment of maternal deaths. However, combined data for 48 states and DC showed an increase in the estimated maternal mortality rate from 18.8 in 2000 to 23.8 in 2014 – a 26.6% increase. Notably, the smaller increase seen in the adjusted data appears to be a result of earlier estimates of the U.S. national rate being substantially underreported. Clearly at a time when WHO reports that 157 of 183 countries studied had decreases in maternal mortality between 2000 and 2013, the U.S. maternal mortality rate is moving in the wrong direction. Among 31 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries reporting maternal mortality data, the U.S. would rank 30th, ahead of only Mexico. ..”

MacDorman MF, Declercq E, Cabral H, Morton C. Recent Increases in the U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate: Disentangling Trends From Measurement Issues. Obstet Gynecol. 2016;128(3):447–455.

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