NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Pregnancy-related deaths can happen up to a year after a woman gives birth – but whenever they occur, most of these deaths are preventable, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report.
Of the 700 pregnancy-related deaths that happen each year in the United States, nearly 31 percent happen during pregnancy, 36 percent happen during delivery or the week after, and 33 percent happen one week to one year after delivery.
Overall, heart disease and stroke caused more than 1 in 3 (34 percent) pregnancy-related deaths. Other leading causes included infections and severe bleeding. The leading causes of death varied by timing of the pregnancy-related death.
The findings are the result of a CDC analysis of 2011-2015 national data on pregnancy mortality and of 2013-2017 detailed data from 13 state maternal mortality review committees. CDC defines pregnancy-related death as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy from a pregnancy complication; a chain of events initiated by pregnancy; or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.
The data confirm persistent racial disparities: Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women were about three times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause as white women. However, the new analysis also found that most deaths were preventable, regardless of race or ethnicity.