Jul 20, 2023 - Health

Maternal mortality rates rise in Texas

Estimated maternal mortality rate in 2019, by state
Data: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Maternal mortality rates in Texas have increased since 1999, according to a JAMA study that provides the first state-level breakdowns by ethnic group, Axios' Oriana González reports.

By the numbers: The overall rate of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Texas more than doubled from 10.3 in 1999 to 21.9 in 2019.

  • Broken down by group, such deaths across Texas rose from 13.7 to 23.9 among American Indians and Alaska Natives; 37.1 to 54.4 among Black individuals, 11.3 to 18.5 among Asians, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (AAPI); and 11.4 to 29.5 among white people, the researchers found.
  • Of note: The data did not include information on Hispanic people.

The big picture: Nationwide maternal mortality rates also more than doubled between 1999 and 2019, with states in the Midwest, the Great Plains and the South accounting for significant increases.

  • Overall, there were an estimated 1,210 U.S. maternal deaths in 2019, compared to 505 in 1999.

Driving the news: American Indians and Alaska Natives had the biggest increases, particularly in states in the middle of the country where such inequities "had not been previously highlighted," the researchers wrote.

  • "Often, states in the South are called out as having the worst maternal mortality rates in the nation, whereas California and Massachusetts have the best. But that doesn't tell the whole story," said Allison Bryant, co-first study author.

Details: Maternal mortality is defined as a death that takes place during birth or up to a year later.

  • The study looked at pregnant individuals aged 10 to 54.
  • Common causes of maternal death included mental health conditions (including death by suicide and overdose related to substance use disorder), hemorrhages, blood clots, high blood pressure, and cardiac and coronary conditions.

Go deeper: Maternal deaths widespread beyond the South.


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