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Racism tied to rising maternal death rates

Something is going wrong in America when it comes to the health care services provided to pregnant women and new mothers — and many people think that racism is partially at fault.

Maternal mortality rates have been dropping all over the world — except in the United States. Here, they’ve been steadily increasing — particularly among women of color.

Based on information compiled out of decades of records in New York, researchers found that all of the efforts to reduce maternal fatalities have gone for nothing. The issue is particularly troubling, however, when you stop to look deeper into the statistics. African American women and other women of color are dying more often than white women. They’re also at increased risk for maternal complications that don’t result in death.

In general, African American women are between three and four times more likely to die due to pregnancy than white women — although that varies by region. Theories about exactly why it’s happening abound, with many suggesting that economic and educational issues may be the biggest factor. However, that explanation falls short as soon as you acknowledge the fact that pregnant African American women face greater mortality risks than pregnant white women even when they are financially comfortable and well-educated.

This indicates that something in the way that women are treated by medical professionals during their pregnancies and post-delivery is connected to race. It’s possible that African American pregnant women are simply given less attention when they develop complications. By the time a serious crisis starts, it can be too late.

If you or your loved one suffered complication during pregnancy, delivery or post-birth that led to serious injuries or death for either a child or the child’s mother, don’t accept the idea that it was just an unavoidable event. You may be the victim of medical negligence. Find out more about your legal options.