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Maternal mortality in the USA before and during COVID-19 pandemic

In the newest challenge of the JAMA Network Open, researchers assessed the influence of the coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on maternal loss of life charges in the United States (US).

Research letter: All-Cause Maternal Mortality in the US Before vs During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Image Credit: Tomas Ragina / Shutterstock


The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported maternal mortality during or inside 42 days of being pregnant elevated by 18.4% in the US between 2019 and 2020. A big proportion of maternal deaths in 2020 (16.8%) have been instantly or not directly related to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the research

In the current research, researchers from the University of Maryland and Boston University obtained deidentified maternal mortality and natality information from NCHS for 2018 to 2020. They stratified maternal deaths by month, and yr of loss of life into two broad intervals, i.e., before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The time before the COVID-19 pandemic coated the years 2018, 2019, the first quarter of 2020, and during the pandemic spanned April to December 2020.

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision [ICD-10] codes don’t solely determine COVID-19 as the reason behind maternal loss of life even when it’s a contributing issue. Therefore, the authors restricted their research analyses to ICD-10 codes A34, O00-O95, and O98-O99 per NCHS pointers. They ascertained that COVID-19 was a secondary reason behind maternal mortality from the a number of causes of loss of life, much like different reviews documenting extra COVID-19 mortality.

They in contrast the price of maternal mortality with a secondary COVID-19 code by the time and reason behind loss of life and race/ethnicity. The group used a z-test of proportions to guage the variations during completely different research time intervals, the place a two-sided p=0.05 was statistically important.

Study findings

There have been 1588 maternal deaths before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The relative enhance in deaths during the pandemic was 33.3%; subsequently, there have been 684 deaths. In addition, the late maternal loss of life charges elevated by 41%.

US Maternal Mortality Rates (95% CI) Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Race and Ethnicity

US Maternal Mortality Rates (95% CI) Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Race and Ethnicity

The relative enhance amongst Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and White ladies was 44.4%, 25.7%, and 6.1%, respectively. Both the relative and absolute adjustments in maternal deaths have been additionally highest for Hispanics at 74.2%, whereas it was lowest for non-Hispanic White ladies at 17.2%. During the pandemic, 14.9% of maternal deaths listed COVID-19 as a secondary code. Yet once more, the proportion of such maternal deaths was highest for Hispanic females at 32.1%. The non-Hispanic Black and White moms shared solely 12.9% and 7.3%  of this proportion, respectively.

Indirect causes accounted for 56.9% of the total enhance in the underlying cause-of-death codes. The share of different viral ailments, respiratory ailments, and ailments of the circulatory system was 2374.7%, 111.7%, and 72.1%, respectively. Direct causes of loss of life, comparable to diabetes in being pregnant, hypertensive issues, and different pregnancy-related well being circumstances, elevated by 95.9%, 39%, and 48%, respectively. Overall, there was a 27.7% enhance in direct causes. COVID-19 was generally related to different viral ailments (16 out of 16 deaths [100%]) and ailments of the respiratory system (11 out of 19 deaths [57.9%]). However, half of them (49/102) had a non-specific ICD-10 code as the reason behind loss of life.


The research analyses confirmed a rise of 33.3% in maternal deaths in the US after March 2020. Clearly, COVID-19 onset elevated maternal deaths in the US by greater than the 22% total extra loss of life estimate. The enhance in maternal deaths was increased for the Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black moms and was both instantly associated to COVID-19 or circumstances worsened by COVID-19.

Although there may be not sufficient information to discern the oblique results of COVID-19, it actually worsened pre-existing well being circumstances, comparable to gestational diabetes and cardiovascular ailments. According to the authors, extra research ought to look at how racial and ethnic inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to increased maternal deaths in the US.

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