Why the Maternal Mortality Rate Is So Much Higher for Black Moms in the U.S. – and What We Can Do About It

Pregnancy is a milestone millions of women dream of. Each year, around 4 million women in the U.S. give birth, and while it’s a time of great joy for many women, it’s downright dangerous for others. Alarmingly, after decades of dropping, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is actually increasing– at a time when it’s actually going down everywhere else in the world.

But even as the national conversation about maternal health has shifted to focus on the shocking, unacceptable growth in the maternal mortality rate here in the U.S., it’s important to discuss one crucial aspect: That moms of color have the highest risk of dying. Statistically, black moms are three-and-a-half times more likely to die in childbirth or of pregnancy-related complications than white moms — and we need to understand why, and work to change that.