Report links pandemic to U.S. pregnancy-related mortality

Report links pandemic to U.S. pregnancy-related mortality

According to a government assessment issued on Wednesday, the COVID-19 epidemic caused a substantial spike in the number of women who died from pregnancy or delivery difficulties in the United States last year, a crisis that disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic women.

The analysis highlighted alarming national patterns for pregnant moms and newborn infants.

It was discovered that pregnancy-related mortality have increased by approximately 80% during 2018, with COVID-19 contributing to a fifth of the 1,178 deaths reported in 2018. The percentage of preterm and low birthweight infants increased last year, after years of stability. And more pregnant or postpartum women report depressive symptoms.

Karen Tabb Dina, a maternal health researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said, “We were already in the midst of a crisis with maternal mortality in our country.” This demonstrates that COVID-19 has escalated the issue to an extent that our nation cannot cope.

The neutral U.S. Government Accountability Office, which authored the report, evaluated pregnancy-related mortality after Congress instructed it to examine maternal health outcomes in the coronavirus relief bill for 2020.

The U.S. maternal mortality rate is higher than that of many other industrialized nations and had been rising in the years preceding the pandemic; nevertheless, COVID-19 has only exacerbated conditions for pregnant women.

Women infected with the virus during pregnancy face increased health risks. Staffing constraints and COVID-19 restrictions have made it more difficult for pregnant women to receive in-person health care. And pandemic stress has exacerbated prenatal depression, a prevalent illness.

Tabb Dina stated that mental health difficulties likely contributed to the increase in pregnancy-related mortality. Many women who experience depression and anxiety during or after pregnancy have difficulty obtaining the necessary treatment.

“Mental health is the most misunderstood aspect of pregnancy,” she stated.

Carolyn Yocom, a director at the Government Accountability Office, remarked that the COVID-19 Delta variant infected millions from July to December of last year, causing the greatest increase in mortality.

Yocom stated, “It is evident from the data that the distribution of the Delta variety coincided with a massive spike in fatalities.”

The maternal mortality rate is especially high among African-American women, who have historically had poorer maternal outcomes than their peers.

Black women’s pregnancy-related death rate increased from 44 per 100,000 births in 2019 to 68.9 per 100,000 births in 2018. In 2018, the death rate for white women increased to 26,1 from 17,9 in 2019.

Death rates among Hispanics had been declining, but during the pandemic, they increased from 12.6 per 100,000 in 2019 to 27.5 per 100,000 in 2018.

Black and Hispanic persons have also perished at a higher rate from COVID-19, in part because they have less access to medical treatment and frequently work in high-risk occupations.

According to a second GAO investigation, long before the emergence of COVID-19, the conditions were in place for Black, low-income, and rural women to get substandard prenatal care, putting them at greater risk for complications during pregnancy.

According to the report, hospitals have reduced their obstetric services in rural areas, as well as low-income and predominantly Black communities. As of 2018, more than half of rural counties lacked a hospital delivering obstetric treatment, according to a review.

The analysis indicated that the loss of hospital-based obstetric services in rural areas is connected with an increase in out-of-hospital births and preterm births, which may lead to poor mother and infant outcomes.

According to a government assessment issued on Wednesday, the COVID-19 epidemic caused a substantial spike in the number of women who died from pregnancy or delivery difficulties in the United States last year, a crisis that disproportionately affected Black and Hispanic women.

The analysis highlighted alarming national patterns for pregnant moms and newborn infants.

It was discovered that pregnancy-related mortality have increased by approximately 80% during 2018, with COVID-19 contributing to a fifth of the 1,178 deaths reported in 2018. The percentage of preterm and low birthweight infants increased last year, after years of stability. And more pregnant or postpartum women report depressive symptoms.

Karen Tabb Dina, a maternal health researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said, “We were already in the midst of a crisis with maternal mortality in our country.” This demonstrates that COVID-19 has escalated the issue to an extent that our nation cannot cope.

The neutral U.S. Government Accountability Office, which authored the report, evaluated pregnancy-related mortality after Congress instructed it to examine maternal health outcomes in the coronavirus relief bill for 2020.

The U.S. maternal mortality rate is higher than that of many other industrialized nations and had been rising in the years preceding the pandemic; nevertheless, COVID-19 has only exacerbated conditions for pregnant women.

Women infected with the virus during pregnancy face increased health risks. Staffing constraints and COVID-19 restrictions have made it more difficult for pregnant women to receive in-person health care. And pandemic stress has exacerbated prenatal depression, a prevalent illness.

Tabb Dina stated that mental health difficulties likely contributed to the increase in pregnancy-related mortality. Many women who experience depression and anxiety during or after pregnancy have difficulty obtaining the necessary treatment.

“Mental health is the most misunderstood aspect of pregnancy,” she stated.

Carolyn Yocom, a director at the Government Accountability Office, remarked that the COVID-19 Delta variant infected millions from July to December of last year, causing the greatest increase in mortality.

Yocom stated, “It is evident from the data that the distribution of the Delta variety coincided with a massive spike in fatalities.”

The maternal mortality rate is especially high among African-American women, who have historically had poorer maternal outcomes than their peers.

Black women’s pregnancy-related death rate increased from 44 per 100,000 births in 2019 to 68.9 per 100,000 births in 2018. In 2018, the death rate for white women increased to 26,1 from 17,9 in 2019.

Death rates among Hispanics had been declining, but during the pandemic, they increased from 12.6 per 100,000 in 2019 to 27.5 per 100,000 in 2018.

Black and Hispanic persons have also perished at a higher rate from COVID-19, in part because they have less access to medical treatment and frequently work in high-risk occupations.

According to a second GAO investigation, long before the emergence of COVID-19, the conditions were in place for Black, low-income, and rural women to get substandard prenatal care, putting them at greater risk for complications during pregnancy.

According to the report, hospitals have reduced their obstetric services in rural areas, as well as low-income and predominantly Black communities. As of 2018, more than half of rural counties lacked a hospital delivering obstetric treatment, according to a review.

The analysis indicated that the loss of hospital-based obstetric services in rural areas is connected with an increase in out-of-hospital births and preterm births, which may lead to poor mother and infant outcomes.

»Report links pandemic to U.S. pregnancy-related mortality«

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