Illinois black moms more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues

Published On October 27, 2018 | By William Thomas | Health

In a shocking piece of Illinois healthcare news, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported black women who just gave birth in Illinois are six times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women.

Illinois’ first Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report looked at records of 93 women who died in 2015 while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy.

An average of 73 Illinois women die within one year of giving birth. In comparison, 11 percent of white and 24 percent of hispanic women die from pregnancy-related issues. What’s more, the report shows, 72 percent of these deaths were preventable.

“Going into this, we knew there was a disparity, but seeing the numbers is alarming,” said Shannon Lightner, deputy director of the Health Department’s Office of Women’s Health and Family Services.

The committee of health care providers who compiled the research offered a comprehensive list of solutions to help minimize pregnancy-related deaths. Recommendations include raising public awareness about the importance of prenatal care and expanding Medicaid eligibility from 60 days postpartum to one year.

Illinois legislators are currently working towards providing universal home visits to all mothers within three weeks of giving birth. “It’s one of the most crucial methods of preventative care and we’re working to make it available to every mother and baby in the state of Illinois,” said Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner.

The state is also nurturing strong collaborations that could save millions of lives.

Thanks to a partnership with Administrative Perinatal Centers, new obstetric staff is now receiving better hemorrhage training. About 125,000 American women a year are affected by postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), which can lead to death by renal failure and cardiovascular collapse.

“By studying maternal mortality […] we can address the causes head on, take action to reverse poor health outcomes, and improve the health of women and their babies,” said IDPH director Nirav Shah.

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