Maternal deaths in the US increased by 33% during the pandemic, hitting black and Hispanic women in particular

Maternal mortality in the US has risen 33% since the start of the pandemic, with black and Hispanic women dying more often than white women, according to a new study.

The study, published Tuesday by JAMA Network, reveals how the pandemic continues to disproportionately affect the health care of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.

“This problem is not new and the pandemic just repeats the problems we already face in this country,” said Dr. Jacques Moritz, a board-certified OB/GYN and medical director at Tia, a healthcare model that includes multiple clinics and services for women. -related health care needs, ABC News told.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to see how COVID-19 affected maternal death during or within 42 days of pregnancy. They recorded the number of deaths associated with and without a COVID-19 diagnosis and compared it with pre-pandemic figures.

The report found that overall maternal deaths have increased by 33% since the start of the pandemic. These changes may be the result of conditions directly related to COVID-19, such as respiratory infections, or indirect factors experienced by an overburdened healthcare system.

Hispanic women had nine more deaths per 100,000 births, a 74% increase from the years before the pandemic. Non-Hispanic black women had 16.8 more deaths per 100,000 births, a 40% increase from previous figures.

However, white women had only 2.9 more deaths per 100,000 births, a 17% change.

The findings of this study reinforce previous research showing how racial and ethnic minorities have felt health inequalities since the start of the pandemic.

“We know that access to quality prenatal care continues to affect Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women. This sheds more light on the current situation in our communities,” said Moritz, who was not involved in the study.

Access to care, medical distrust and systemic discrimination are just some of the inequalities contributing to increased COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among racial and ethnic minorities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Changes have to be made or the numbers will be similar in the next pandemic,” Moritz said.

Nicholas Dumlao, MD, is a psychiatrist for the BronxCare Health System and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

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