Despite the rising costs of prenatal and labor and delivery care, a new infographic FacetheFactsUSA.org illustrates a marked increase in maternal mortality–defined as death during pregnancy, within 42 days of terminating a pregnancy, or from any treatment or complication of pregnancy–over the past 25 years. To date, Greece has the lowest maternal mortality rate at two deaths per 100,000 pregnancies. Afghanistan has the highest rate at 1,400 per 100,000 births. The United States is tied with Saudi Arabia at 24 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies.

The infographic, which pulls its research from the U.S. Census, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization, also states that black women were 3.2 times likelier to die during pregnancy or childbirth than white women and that the U.S. ranked 50th in maternal mortality prevention in 2008. The U.S. numbers come as a shock, since annually, $98 billion is spent on hospitalization for pregnancy and childbirth.

Check out the numbers for yourself:

According to Unicef, “the direct causes of maternal deaths [in many countries] are haemorrhage, infection, obstructed labour, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, and complications of unsafe abortion. There are birth-related disabilities that affect many more women and go untreated like injuries to pelvic muscles, organs or the spinal cord.” The organization goes on to confirm that many pregnancy-related deaths are preventable:  }[They are] mainly due to insufficient care during pregnancy and delivery. About 15 per cent of pregnancies and childbirths need emergency obstetric care because of complications that are difficult to predict.”

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  • Mademoiselle

    On topic: greater/widespread access to a variety of prenatal care options would likely play a major role in bringing those numbers down. In this country, that would mean greater bi-partisan and bi-gender concern and activism for women’s health issues, initiatives, and policies.

  • Ms. Information

    Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics……….Statistics are also used to control minds and direct perception….all of these negative statistics are intentional…….Don’t believe and/or it the poisoned meat that they are feeding.

    • Ms. Information


  • ChillyRoad

    The one of the major reasons African American women are at greater risk during pregnancy and labor is due to lifestyle disease like hypertension and obesity. Women have to be healthy themselves in order to give birth to healthy babies and survive the experience.

  • Echi

    Rather than get paranoid about the statistics, we should ask – why? Why is it that in an industrialized nation like the US, women – black or white – are still dying from childbirth? I understand our collective frustration with these stats but chucking it up to, “the man is out to get us” does nothing to solve the problem.
    If you care about women’s issues, the very least you can do is vote Republicans out of office. Definitely not the end all be al terms of solutions, but it helps a little.