Dramatic increases in maternal mortality linked to impacts of chronic disease
October 24, 2023 (SAN DIEGO, CA) Today the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) co-hosted a community seminar on the increasing connection of chronic disease and Black maternal health with California Assemblywoman Dr. Akilah Weber (CA-79). The focus of the event was centered on an in-depth conversation about Black maternal health, challenges posed by health disparities, and how chronic diseases further exasperate the problem.
From 2020 to 2021, the maternal mortality rate jumped by more than one-third. The Black maternal mortality rate was more than twice as high as that for white mothers. COVID certainly played a role but even before the pandemic, complications from chronic conditions accounted for half of all maternal deaths in the United States and were the fastest-rising cause of maternal mortality nationwide. San Diego County Black infants are nearly three times more likely to die during their first year of life and 60% more likely to be born premature.
“This conversation underscores the growing need for greater attention to health care issues that face women, children, and entire families. We must do more,” urged Dr. Weber. “Prevention is powerful, but resources are critical. By focusing on efforts to reduce Black infant deaths, empower women, and raise community awareness to support improved health among Black mothers and babies we can save lives and measurably improve quality of life for women before during and after their childbearing years.”
Black mothers suffer from common chronic illnesses -- including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension -- at higher rates. Sickle cell disease also presents greater risks. Studies have shown that women who suffer from the disease are substantially more likely to live in underserved neighborhoods, deliver at a younger age, and experience stillbirth.
“The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is always working to address pressing issues in health care that impact overall health outcomes, and maternal health is a significant and increasing concern,” said PFCD Chair Ken Thorpe. “We appreciate the opportunity to host this important discussion with Dr. Weber and welcome hearing from her and other local leaders to uncover solutions and support policies and programs that work to fight the many challenges posed by chronic disease.”
To learn more about chronic disease and maternal health disparities, please visit PFCD’s blog HERE.
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs: chronic disease.