U.S. Has The Worst Rate of Maternal Deaths In The Developed World More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications and that rate is rising.
NPR logo U.S. Has The Worst Rate Of Maternal Deaths In The Developed World

U.S. Has The Worst Rate Of Maternal Deaths In The Developed World

The story of Lauren Bloomstein illustrates a disparity in our nation's health care system, where primary focus is given to newborn babies, but often ignores the mothers. Courtesy of the Bloomstein Family hide caption

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Courtesy of the Bloomstein Family

The story of Lauren Bloomstein illustrates a disparity in our nation's health care system, where primary focus is given to newborn babies, but often ignores the mothers.

Courtesy of the Bloomstein Family

NPR and ProPublica teamed up for a six-month long investigation on maternal mortality in the U.S. Among our key findings:

  • More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country. Only in the U.S. has the rate of women who die been rising.
  • There's a hodgepodge of hospital protocols for dealing with potentially fatal complications, allowing for treatable complications to become lethal.
  • Hospitals — including those with intensive care units for newborns — can be woefully unprepared for a maternal emergency.
  • Federal and state funding show only 6 percent of block grants for "maternal and child health" actually go to the health of mothers.
  • In the U.S, some doctors entering the growing specialty of maternal-fetal medicine were able to complete that training without ever spending time in a labor-delivery unit.

Maternal Mortality Is Rising in the U.S. As It Declines Elsewhere

Deaths per 100,000 live births

Chart: The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. (26.4) far exceeds that of other developed countries.

Read and listen to the full report here.

Nina Martin is a reporter for ProPublica.

NPR and ProPublica