MUIJacqueline Howard of recently interviewed ORWH Director Janine A. Clayton, M.D., for an article on maternal mortality. The article, “Women dying from pregnancy and childbirth is still a problem in the United States, CDC report shows,” cites statistics from recent National Vital Statistics Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These reports state that in 2018, 658 women in the United States died while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of their pregnancies. Overall, that amounts to 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Maternal mortality rates are up to three times higher for Black women compared with White and Hispanic women. Studies show that more than half of U.S. maternal deaths are preventable.
In this interview, Dr. Clayton commented that rates of U.S. maternal mortality are dramatically higher than those of peer nations and that further research is needed to identify the causes of the racial disparities in maternal deaths and to take action to address them. Although not directly involved in the CDC report, ORWH strives to mitigate the problem of maternal morbidity and mortality by raising awareness, disseminating information via the NIH Maternal Morbidity and Mortality web portal and other channels, and supporting clinical trials on maternal health.