Hobley: 'Maternal Mortality Rate in U.S. Increased 40 Percent During Pandemic'; The United States has again secured its spot as “the most dangerous place” among high income countries to give birth,

by Paul Alexander

with the maternal mortality rate seeing a 40 percent increase from 2020-2021. These are the highest numbers since 1965.

One subscriber wrote:

‘Little off in the wording, the death rate in the United States stayed the same even with the pandemic, and only went up to 40% increase AFTER the death jabs came out. Can't reference the source right now, but have read this data over and over.’

I will take that into account and advise the writer of the piece (Hobley) to see if they would tweak their headline. That said:

Start here:

‘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