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Black Womens Maternal Risks Go Unquestioned

Source: Womens eNews - Fri, 22 Apr 2011 00:03 GMT
Author: Womens eNews
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Toll of Discrimination Discrimination over a lifetime and institutional racism take an immeasurable toll on women's health. Recent studies have shown that prolonged stress may increase anyone's risk for infection. Stress may also trigger the release of hormones that lead to premature labor. America's overall record on maternal mortality is poor. A 2010 report by the United Nations placed the United States 50th in the world for maternal mortality. The U.N. data indicated that the vast majority of countries reduced maternal mortality ratios for a global decrease of 34 percent between 1990 and 2000, while the rate nearly doubled in the United States. America's standing is alarming because the United States spends more on childbirth-related care than any other area of hospitalization--${esc.dollar}86 billion a year. Maternal mortality suffers from a poverty of interest. The CDC estimates that quality maternal care could prevent 40 to 50 percent of maternal deaths and 30 to 40 percent of near-deaths and complications. But research to determine more effective practices has languished in the last 40 years because scientists and clinicians have focused on reducing infant deaths. "At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of maternal deaths plummeted because we took a close look at why women were dying and came up with innovations in prenatal care and delivery," said Dr. Franklyn H. Geary Jr., a professor and director of the division of maternal fetal medicine of obstetrics at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. "Similar research is needed today because maternal mortality is a daunting problem, especially for African Americans."

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