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Study: Women’s Deaths During, After Childbirth Skyrocketing In New York City

Mothers Are 30% More Likely To Die During Childbirth Now Than 12 Years Ago
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An alarming new report Monday showed a dramatic increase in the number of New York City mothers dying during and after delivering children.

As CBS 2’s Tamara Leitner reported, it is well known that the risks associated with childbirth are numerous, but the new study out by the New York Women’s Foundation shows the number of pregnancy-related deaths has jumped by 30 percent in recent years.

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“When we look across New York City, African-American women are more likely to die from maternity-related complications,” Dr. Nicole Mason said, adding women in impoverished communities are also at a higher risk.

“We’re talking about access to quality healthcare. We’re talking about access to quality food,” Dr. Mason said. “All these things converge to make this a reality.”

According to the study, pregnant women living in the city are at greater risk than those in other states. One reason is due to complications during C-sections.

“This study tells us that actually women die in childbirth in New York City — and not only in New York City, but more than in the rest of the U.S.,” said Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. “So this is a real big deal.”

Women in New York City are 30 percent more likely to die during childbirth than 12 years ago. Last year, there were 79 deaths per 100,000 births among African-American women, and 10 deaths per 100,000 among white women.

“There seems to be differences in access to care in possibly other cities, so women of color, women of low economic status, believe it or not, have a higher chance of dying,” Moritz said.

So why the increase now? Experts said the reasons include more women giving birth later in life, an increase in obesity, and women less likely to seek out prenatal care.

It turns out some of these pregnancy-related deaths do not happen actually during childbirth, but rather as much as six weeks after the delivery.

The report also revealed that women living in the five boroughs live disparately different lives, which can ultimately affect the healthcare they receive.

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