Maternal mortality rates rose 40% in 2021 in the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened a health crisis among pregnant women in the country, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed on Thursday.
The United States has one of the highest rates of pregnancy-related deaths among developed countries. It recorded more than 1,200 deaths in pregnant women in 2021, compared with 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019, according to CDC data.
"The number and percentage of maternal death records mentioning COVID-19 were greater in 2021 than in 2020, which (suggests) that COVID-19 has likely contributed to the increase in maternal deaths," said Donna Hoyert, author of the study at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
About 32.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births were reported in 2021, compared with 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019.
The mortality rate for Black women in the United States was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021, about 3 times higher than white and Hispanic women.
UN agencies reported last month that nearly all parts of the world saw a spike in maternal mortality rates in 2020.