Nationwide, maternal mortality is three times more common for Black and Indigenous women than White women. Oklahoma is ranked 38 (of 50) for its maternal mortality outcomes. Alaska has the best outcomes at an average of 12.4 deaths per 100,000 live births per year, and Louisiana ranks the worst at 72 deaths per 100,000 live births per year.
Deaths of women during pregnancy through one year afterward, per 100,000 live births.
Number of deaths from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes) during pregnancy and childbirth or within one year of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, per 100,000 live births.
Whitney, an expecting mother and PhD candidate, recalls poor healthcare interactions during unexpected complications throughout her pregnancy.
In Oklahoma Black and Indigenous women are three times more likely to die from childbirth or childbirth-related complications than their White counterparts. Whitney’s story personifies how Black women, even when highly educated, in good health, and financially stable, are still far more likely to die due to complications from childbirth than White women of lesser education and financial stability.
The Oklahoma Legislature passed a bill in 2019 establishing a Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC). Since November of 2019, the MMRC has been reviewing, identifying, and providing recommendations to address the underlying, preventable causes contributing to the death of Oklahoma mothers.
States that previously established these committees have found that most maternal mortality was preventable and made changes accordingly. These changes have decreased rates of morbidity, too, which is defined as “severe, near-death experiences.” Though morbidity does not end in death, many situations causing morbidity could end in mortality if they’re not caught and addressed soon enough to save a mother.
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