High Maternal Mortality Rates for Black Moms Still a Mystery

The harsh reality is there is no national standard or federal requirement on reporting maternal deaths and scant national data. The last national data was compiled in 2007 by the CDC’s Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, which uses data from 52 U.S. reporting areas—50 states, New York City and Washington, D.C.

The surveillance system indicated wide disparities in pregnancy-related mortality ratios in the U.S., with the pregnancy-related ratio for white women at 11 deaths per 100,000 live births and 34.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for black women. The ratio was 15.7 deaths per 100,000 live births for women of other races.

Shocking statistics, and the cause appears to be so multi-faceted as to defy easy analysis.