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High Death Rate of New Yorks Black Moms Analyzed

Source: Womens eNews - Mon, 16 May 2011 04:44 PM
Author: Womens eNews
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Why do African American women in New York City die during childbirth nearly eight times as often as the city's new white mothers? How could this be in a city with public hospitals available to all? The story Women's eNews published in April 2010 that reported this health disparity stunned the team that has been working for more than 2 years to cover the maternal and infant health of African Americans for more than two years. In the U.S., African American women die two to four times more often during pregnancy and childbirth than white women. Women's eNews has reported that the United States overall has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world and published stories about the stress pregnant African American's experience and their generally poorer health, a common explanation for their higher maternal mortality rate. Women's eNews also documented that it simply does not have to be that way, reporting on the Developing Families Center in Washington D.C. Founded by advocates for maternal and infant health, the center brings social and medical services under one roof and provides care that significantly improves the health of the African American families it serves. But a question haunted the team: Exactly what were causing the deaths? Our breakthrough came with a 2010 report published by the New York Health Department that looked at maternal deaths from 2001 and 2005. It provided very specific information of the causes of maternal death, broken down by race and ethnicity. Our reporters had actual information on what was killing African American women giving birth.. One example: Of the women who died from embolisms--which are highly preventable--82 percent were African American; zero percent were white. Women's eNews is proud to present this series and video, which focuses on this ground-breaking research. We strongly believe the New York City stories raise many new questions and have national implications and impact as well. We will continue to follow up on this tragic loss of young women's lives.

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