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Maternal Fetal Rate of Black Maternal Mortality

Maternal Fetal Rate of Black Maternal Mortality

Maternal Fetal Rate of Black Maternal Mortality

Maternal Fetal Rate of Black Maternal Mortality

Maternal mortality reflects the health quality and equality within a nation's healthcare system. Unfortunately, the United States demonstrates a significant flaw in its healthcare system by reporting among the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world. The rate is alarmingly elevated among Black women, representing a severe racial disparity in maternal health. Discernibly, racial disparity transcends socioeconomic demarcations and education levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that, in 2021, the mortality rate among Black mothers was approximately 70 deaths for every 100,000 live births, which is 2.6 times higher than the rate for white mothers.

Disproportionate Mortality Rates

Black maternal mortality rates show a severe racial disparity in the United States' healthcare system. It is an urgent matter for national public health. While various factors influence these rates, the impact of systemic racism and bias in healthcare cannot be ignored. The prevalent risk factors affecting the Black maternal health may include chronic health conditions, access to adequate healthcare, and the quality of care received. However, the disproportionate mortality rates persist even when these variables are accounted for, signifying the existence of more profound systemic issues.

Socioeconomic Status and Education Levels

Contrary to many assumptions, the heightened mortality rates do not exclusively lie with low-income or lesser-educated Black women. CDC’s 2021 estimations show that this high mortality rate is consistent for Black women, regardless of income or education. Even when economically well-off and highly educated, Black women are still more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts. This pattern suggests the issues are more rooted in systemic racism, conscious or unconscious bias in healthcare provision, and stressors associated with being a Black woman in America.

Contributing Factors

While pointing out the causes of this disparity is complex and multifaceted, identifying contributing factors is an essential step towards resolution. Several studies suggest that the disparity in Black maternal mortality goes beyond biological or genetic factors and indicates a complex interplay of systemic, psychosocial, and behavioral factors.
One explanation, the ‘weathering hypothesis,’ suggests that the cumulative impact of racism and social inequities leads to wearing down the body's systems, negatively impacting Black women's health and pregnancy outcomes. In addition, Black women face a disproportionately high rate of chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, which can complicate pregnancies.
In addition, disparities in access to quality prenatal care play a role. Timely and quality prenatal care is crucial for healthy pregnancy outcomes. However, despite improvements in healthcare availability, many Black women lack access to high-quality healthcare services. These inadequacies and the potential experience of racial bias in healthcare settings compound the overall stress, further contributing to poor maternal outcomes.

Way Forward

Combating high mortality rates calls for structural changes in the healthcare system and the way society treats Black women, pregnant or otherwise. These changes demand policies aimed at universal access to quality healthcare, comprehensive prenatal care, and robust measures against racial bias and inequities within the healthcare system. Simultaneously, research and data collection related to maternal mortality should be continuously practiced to understand the racial disparity better, inform policies, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.


The high Black maternal mortality rate in the United States is a grave concern that requires immediate attention. Although socioeconomic status and education levels contribute to health disparities, the consistently high mortality rate among Black women across these categories points to systemic racism and bias in healthcare. By understanding and addressing the contributing factors, the United States can make strides toward reducing the racial disparities in maternal mortality and ensure that every woman, regardless of race, has a safe pregnancy and childbirth.

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