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State of motherhood

Georgia to take action on its worst-in-the-nation maternal mortality rate

By WITW Staff on June 24, 2015

The problem of maternal mortality is surprisingly prevalent in the U.S., with some regions experiencing similar rates of mothers who die from pregnancy-related complications to what’s reported in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. And no where in the U.S. is the problem worse than it is in Georgia, but officials there are finally beginning to understand what’s behind the problem, and how to attack solving it. One major factor, according to those who have analyzed maternal mortality data, is that African-American women are overwhelmingly at risk of pregnancy-related deaths, and they attribute that phenomenon to a lack of access to health care. Georgia is one of 18 U.S. states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and there’s a real barrier to women of color obtaining health insurance there, experts say. “The biggest predictor of health is wealth,” or the lack thereof, as one doctor put it. Researchers also noticed the number-one culprit in maternal deaths was hemorrhaging during childbirth. As a result, officials have launched an initiative among 22 hospitals that’s aimed at improving treatment for hemorrhage.

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