Racial disparities in health are getting better, but there's still a deep and persistent inequity between the health of white and black mothers. "Put simply, for black women far more than for white women, giving birth can amount to a death sentence," Harvard's public-health school notes in its magazine.
By the numbers: Maternal mortality is on the rise overall in the U.S., according to Harvard. On average, the mother dies in 18 out of every 100,000 births. For white women, it's about 12 deaths per 100,000 births. But for black women, the mortality rate is over 3 times higher — 40 deaths per 100,000 births.