American women are more than twice as likely to die of pregnancy-related causes as British women, three times as likely as Canadians, and six times as likely as Norwegians – that’s according to 2015 data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Many wealthy nations have been successful in reducing maternal deaths in recent years. The U.S. has not followed suit. The maternal mortality rate jumped more than 25 percent from 2000 to 2014, researchers said.
For every expectant or new mother in the U.S. who dies, as many as 100 women come close to dying, often with devastating long-term physical, emotional and economic effects. Maternal near deaths are on the rise, and now exceed 65,000 a year, says the Centers for Disease Control.
The racial disparities are striking: African-American mothers are three to four times more likely to die or nearly die compared to white mothers.
ProPublica, a non-profit investigative media organization, is seeking to understand why so many American women – particularly African American women – die and nearly die because of pregnancy and childbirth. The goal is to figure out how healthcare system can be improved to protect future mothers from harm.
Do you know someone who died or nearly died in pregnancy or childbirth? ProPublica is interested in hearing your story.