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Maternal Mortality Rate in U.S. Increased 40 Percent During Pandemic

pregnant woman

The United States has again secured its spot as “the most dangerous place” among high income countries to give birth, with the maternal mortality rate seeing a 40 percent increase from 2020-2021. These are the highest numbers since 1965. The U.S. has long ranked as the country with the highest mortality rates “by a significant margin” in the developed world, making this increase even more alarming.1

Black Maternal Death Rate Disproportionately Higher

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reported that the most affected group of mothers were Black mothers, who had more than double the maternal mortality rate as White mothers. Maternal mortality rates for Black women (69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births or 1 in 1,430) were disproportionately higher when compared with White women (26.6 deaths per 100,000 or 1 in 3,759). Among the reasons cited for this disparity is inferior quality of care that Black women receive before, during, and after pregnancy; lack of insurance coverage; and higher rates of cardiovascular conditions, hemorrhage, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and blood disorders among the Black population.2

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines maternal death rate as the death of a woman during pregnancy or up to 42 days after giving birth or the termination of the pregnancy other than by accident. The cause of death must be related to the pregnancy or its management.3 4

COVID, Obesity Rates, and Chronic Disease Play A Role

Medical and public health professionals say that there is not one clear contributing factor to the huge increase in maternal mortality rates in the U.S. during 2020-2021 but maintain that SARS-CoV-2 infections are partially to blame. However, maternal mortality rates in Australia, Japan, and the Netherlands dipped lower through the pandemic timeframe. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), COVID-19 contributed to one quarter of maternal deaths.1

Other contributing factors could include rising obesity and the prevalence of other types of chronic disease in the U.S. population. Obesity is prevalent in 42 percent of American adults; nearly half of the population has high blood pressure; 11 percent are diabetic, and 38 percent are considered pre-diabetic.1

Effect of COVID Vaccinations on Maternal Deaths Still Not Known

It is unclear yet what effect COVID vaccinations may be having on maternal deaths. When assessing the safety of COVID shots, vaccine manufacturers did not include pregnant women in their clinical trials. Therefore, the safety of the shots for this demographic, as well as for developing fetuses and newborn babies, has not been determined. A study published in the journal Vaccines in November 2021 acknowledged:

A global effort has been underway to encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated despite the uncertain risk posed to them and their offspring. Given this, post-hoc data collection, potentially for years, will be required to determine the outcomes of COVID-19 and vaccination on the next generation.5

The study did note that reactions to COVID shots at the injection site include erythema, pain, swelling, fatigue, headache, fever and lymphadenopathy, and that these reactions “may be sufficient to affect fetal/neonatal development.”5

Most Developed Countries Saw Decline in Maternal Mortality and Stillbirth Rates

Over the past 20 years, most other developed countries saw a decline in maternal mortality rates, but the U.S. saw a 78 percent rise over the two-decade span, according to the WHO. With no clear cut reason for the dramatic rise in maternal mortality in the U.S., public health researchers are pointing the finger at the high number of uninsured people in the U.S.3

In addition to maternal death rate increases, stillbirths also increased during the COVID pandemic. One article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) states that, while the stillbirths may have resulted from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, indirect effects such as reluctance to go to the hospital for fear of infection, staff shortages, undiagnosed hypertension due to office COVID protocols, and maternal stress could also have been contributing factors.6


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Click here to view References:

1 Toy S. U.S. Maternal Mortality Hits Highest Level Since 1965, Black mothers are the most affected, 2021 data show. The Wall Street Journal Mar. 16, 2023.
2 Howell E. Reducing disparities in severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology June 2018.
3 Toy S. Why Is the Maternal Mortality Rate So High in the U.S.? The Wall Street Journal Mar. 20 2023.
4 Hoyert DL. Maternal Mortality Rates in the United States, 2020. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Feb. 23, 2022.
5 Karrow NA. et al. Maternal COVID-19 Vaccination and Its Potential Impact on Fetal and Neonatal Development. Vaccines Nov. 18, 2021; 9(11): 1351.
6 Khalil A. Change in the incidence of stillbirth and preterm delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA Aug. 18, 2020.

12 Responses

  1. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines maternal death rate as the death of a woman during pregnancy or up to 42 days after giving birth or the termination of the pregnancy other than by accident. The cause of death must be related to the pregnancy or its management.3

    Could it be that many maternal deaths could be because more poor woman are persuaded to abort their children and die from complications caused by the butchers that preform them? Vaccines don’t help either.

  2. Abortion is also a dangerous procedure that is life threatening to the mother as well as the aborted child. Surprising that is not mentioned.

  3. Another important variable for this metric are abortionn laws, changes to which will cause a rise in infant mortality rates.

  4. I’m wondering how much junk food diets may have contributed to this equation? Junk food = high inflammation = lowered immune system.. Being housebound = increased junk food ===.

  5. So why are Americans increasingly sicker and fatter? Anybody want to throw in as reasons the ever-increasing vaccine schedule as well as the astronomical increase in air, water, soil and electromagnetic pollution?

  6. Where are the ob/gyns with a conscience?? It’s not just covid poison injections- moms have been BULLIED for years now about useless flu and tdap shots. Where are the REAL DOCTORS???

  7. You only have to look at hospital policies during the pandemic lockdown to understand maternal mortality rate increase. L&D used the lockdown to implement regressive policies to isolate and control laboring mothers during a very vulnerable time. They were forced to labor alone wearing a mask without any support from loved ones. Medical interventions increased which had a direct correlation with increase maternal mortality.

  8. Pregnant women should never have received the shot. It was too experimental, the short-term and long-term effects were not known. Also, throwing abortions into the mix, I think, skews the results, don’t you think?

  9. I blame medical malpractice.!
    Diet and environment toxins play a role in all people. and we did see a increase of death , but not 40%. of people age 18 to 40.

    Did death rates of other medical procedures also go high in US?

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