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All new mothers need good health coverage

DEAR EDITOR:

There is a great racial disparity regarding African-American maternal deaths related to pregnancy and post-birth complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maternal mortality rate for African-American women is 41 per 100,000 births compared with white women, where the rate of mortality is 13 per 100,000 births. Seven hundred ethnic women die every year from pregnancy-related complications due to disparities. African-American pregnancy and postpartum complications include cardiomyopathy, pulmonary embolism and high blood pressure, all of which can be managed and allow for the avoidance of maternal death.

In Ohio specifically, the maternal mortality rate for African-American women in 2018 was 14.1 deaths per 100,000 births. This increased from the year 2007, when it was 9.8 per 100,000 births. Compared to the maternal mortality of white women, African-American women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.

Some risk factors associated with this disparity include lack of transportation and health care or poor-quality health care. Previous chromic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. For those in low-income communities, Medicaid covers only 60 days of postpartum issues. Many health conditions occur for months after childbirth. If health care providers could identify differences in the cause of maternal mortality rate in African-American and white women, some complications can be prevented.

One way the community can help is to ensure adequate fetal maternal health care centers local to impoverished communities. Longer postpartum coverage by Medicaid, adequate transportation and even local community classes held for expecting mothers. The health care system should address health care bias and discrimination. Patient-provider communication also needs to be improved to ensure better health outcomes.

All mothers want is a healthy pregnancy that ends in a birth of a healthy baby. Mothers shouldn’t have to risk their own health and lives for this outcome. Pregnancy should be an enjoyable experience without fear of maternal death.

PHANTASHIA FREEMAN

Warren

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