This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, December 17, 2018

The Dangers of Getting Pregnant in the U.S.

Last month I blogged about new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention showing that pregnancy related deaths in the U.S. are higher than in any other rich country. A story appearing in the January 2019 issue of the National Geographic explores the problem in an up close and personal way. The title and subtitle summarize the situation very nicely:

Why giving birth in the U.S. is surprisingly deadly 

Black mothers are particularly at risk.

Better basic care could help.

In the United States the problem is marked by two particularly alarming statistics: African-American women are about three times as likely to die of pregnancy-related causes as white women, and more than 60 percent of maternal deaths are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have higher maternal mortality than much of the rest of the developed world; we are capable of doing the best in the world,” says William Callaghan, the CDC’s chief of maternal and infant health. The CDC defines a pregnancy-related death as a woman who dies while pregnant or within one year of the end of her pregnancy.
“When deaths are reviewed and we see what the contributing factors were, there are so many instances where communication was not carried out correctly, where people didn’t recognize urgency, or when the patient wasn’t listened to, or the delay in reaction.”
Why are death rates higher among African American women? Here is one possibility:
Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, believes that not only do bias and racism build up to affect the health of black women over time, but that stress from racism and poverty may have adverse effects as early as in utero or soon after a baby is born.
This is consistent with the effect of Trump administration attitudes towards immigrants on the health of Latinas and their babies, as I noted not long ago

And, of course, I have often noted that the former slave states of the south have the highest death rates in the country, and these are areas with high proportions of African Americans. Where you live still matters when it comes to your health.

1 comment:

  1. Dear John,

    Please read it:
    Set It and Forget It: How Better Contraception Could Be a Key to Reducing Poverty