@ 2023 Advocate Channel.
All Rights reserved

Black Fetal Mortality Rate Drops, But Remains Double the National Average

Black Fetal Mortality Rate Drops, But Is Still Double the National Average

Black maternal health is in crisis, and a recent report shows that black infants face the same risks their mothers do.

Black maternal health is in crisis, and a recent report shows that black infants face the same risks their mothers do.

Infant mortality rates in the United States make it an outlier among other wealthy nations. The recent report, from The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows that rates in the U.S. were over twice as high as comparable nations like Canada, France, and Sweden.

In California, mortality rates by race were significantly more disparate than rates by income — though white women had mortality rates similar to women in Sweden, rates for black women were significantly higher, and their babies were more likely to be born prematurely or underweight.

Nationwide, fetal mortality rates for black women declined 6 percent between 2019 and 2021, but they still fare significantly worse than other women in the United States, according to CDC data. For black women, the mortality rate was 9.80 fetal deaths per 1,000 live births in 2021 — twice that of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic white women.

Black mothers are also especially vulnerable to pregnancy-related deaths, having the highest rates of any group in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the rate of deaths for Black women was 2.6 times that of White women.

"Some of it is about healthcare and access to healthcare, but a lot of it is about structural racism and the policies and procedures and things that we have in place that may keep people from being healthy," said Dr. Allison Bryant, the author of a study on maternal mortality rates.

Structural racism is deeply embedded in maternal healthcare throughout the Americas. In a recent report, the United Nations pointed to the dangerous effects of healthcare disparities, including factors that cause fetal and maternal deaths.

Many Black women reported receiving less attention in antenatal healthcare, which reduces the likelihood of detecting pregnancy complications. The U.N. concluded that addressing the root causes of systemic racism is key to supporting the needs of Black women.

From our sponsors

From our partners

Top Stories