Increase in pregnancy-related mortality due to COVID-19: Study

Following the emergence of the highly infectious Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants, pregnancy-related mortality in the United States is set to rise faster in 2021 than in the previous year, according to a new study (UMD). The study was conducted by the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the findings on pregnancy-related mortality are consistent with rising COVID-19-related mortality among reproductive-age women, and the results follow the team’s previously published research, which found alarming spikes in maternal have also appeared. Mortality during the first year of the pandemic in 2020.

The staggering data captures the worsening burden of pregnancy-related mortality in the United States during the pandemic, including deaths during pregnancy one year postpartum. The steepest increase in death rates among racial and ethnic minorities, and the study adds COVID-19 context to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, which shows that maternal mortality rates in the United States will increase by 2020. In comparison, there has been an increase of 38 percent in 2021. ,

The new study found that the proportion of pregnancy-related deaths is expected to rise to 45.5 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021—and reach a high of 56.9 deaths per 100,000 live births during the third quarter of 2021, while in India It was 36.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. 2020, and 30.3 deaths pre-Covid per 100,000 live births. The Delta variant began wreaking havoc in the country in June 2021, before the more-infectious Omicron variant took hold in late fall.

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Specifically, the study found that the largest relative increases in pregnancy-related deaths between 2020 and 2021 occurred among Hispanic people (at 34 percent) and especially American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) people (at 104 percent) Was. Pregnancy-related mortality in 2021 was highest for AIAN (161 deaths per 100,000 live births) and Black (98 deaths per 100,000 live births) pregnant people. The proportion of pregnancy-related deaths with a COVID diagnosis was highest among Hispanic (at 43 percent) and AIAN (at 36 percent) people.

“The pandemic exacerbated already poor maternal outcomes in the US by deepening disparities of race/ethnicity and place of residence, resulting in maternal mortality rates higher than in 1964,” says senior author Dr. Eugene Declerc, Professor of Community Health Sciences at BUSPH. Haven’t seen since.” , “In particular, the extraordinary increase among American Indian and Alaska Natives deserves to be more noticeable in 2021.”

For the analysis, Dr. Declerc, Associate Professor of Family Science at UMD, and Dr. Mary Thoma, lead author of the study, compared national data from January 2019 to March 2020 (pre-pandemic) compared to April 2020-December 2021 (during the pandemic). Used birth and death rate data. , They estimated that the pregnancy-related mortality rate increased per trimester for deaths occurring during pregnancy or within one year after the end of pregnancy, and compared these rates to mortality rates among people aged 15 to 44. for which COVID-19 was listed. as a contributory cause of death.

In addition to the increase in mortality among racial/ethnic pregnant people, the study also captured an increase in pregnancy-related mortality in rural areas and small towns, with increases of 21 percent and 39 percent, respectively, between 2020-2021. These increases closely mirror the overall change in COVID-related death patterns among all women aged 15-44. Dr Thoma says, “This is a matter of concern because we have also seen many maternity facilities and services being closed during the pandemic, especially in rural areas.”

The researchers hoped that when vaccines became widely available to the public in 2021, vaccination rates among pregnant people would increase and provide greater protection against COVID-related deaths for this population. But the latest federal data shows that up to 45 percent of pregnant people in the US still haven’t been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“When we think about the underlying impact on mothers’ health in this country and how it devastates families, our maternal mortality figures are ‘the tip of the iceberg’,” says Dr Thoma. “We need to shift our focus toward improving our country’s systems and policies that address maternal health.”