HealthDay News — Black and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) women have significantly higher pregnancy-related mortality ratios (PRMRs) than whites, according to research published in the Sept. 6 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Emily E. Petersen, MD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the CDC Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System for 2007 to 2016. PRMRs were analyzed by demographic characteristics and state PRMR tertiles.

The researchers found that the overall PRMR was 16.7 pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births. Compared with all other racial/ethnic groups, non-Hispanic black and non-Hispanic AI/AN women experienced higher PRMRs (40.8 and 29.7, respectively). Over time and across age groups, this disparity persisted. For black and AI/AN women aged ≥30 years, the PRMR was about fourfold to fivefold higher than for their white counterparts. Black and AI/AN women with at least some college education had PRMRs that were higher than those for all other racial/ethnic groups with less than a high school diploma. Among state PRMR tertiles, compared with non-Hispanic white women, black and AI/AN women had PRMRs that were 2.8 to 3.3 and 1.7 to 3.3 times higher, respectively.

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“Further identification and evaluation of factors contributing to racial/ethnic disparities are crucial to inform and implement prevention strategies that will effectively reduce disparities in pregnancy-related mortality, including strategies to improve women’s health and access to quality care in the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods,” the authors write.

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