In the wake of U.S. pregnancy deaths soared in 2021, they’re close to dropping to pre-pandemic numbers by 2022, a government report suggests.
Although the drop from over 1,200 pregnancies deaths in 2021 to just 733 deaths by 2022 is good news, experts believe it’s not enough considering that pregnancies were already high prior to when COVID-19 was discovered.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the final numbers for 2021 on Thursday. The 2022 numbers are likely to increase since those figures are only preliminary.
What transpired “isn’t it difficult to understand,” Eugene Declercq an experienced research scientist in Boston University, told the Associated Press. “The increase was caused by COVID.”
About one-quarter of all maternal deaths in 2020 as well as 2021 was due to COVID-19 as per previous government studies.
Pregnancy already puts strain on a woman’s body “COVID will cause even more stress,” Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, chief medical and health officer of the March of Dimes, told the AP.
A study recently published in BMJ Global Health discovered that pregnant women with COVID-19 had eight times more likely to be killed than women who did not have it. Most of the causes of death for pregnant women include excessive bleeding, blockages of blood vessels and infections.
Pregnancy death figures include women who die during pregnancy, during childbirth , or for up to 42 days after the birth.
The rate of vaccination was also very low in 2021 for pregnant women, and particularly Black women. The CDC didn’t fully endorse shots for women expecting babies until the month of August 2021, The AP stated.
“Initially there was great deal of distrust of the vaccine within Black populations,” Samantha Griffin who runs Doula Services that caters to Black families living in areas like the Washington, D.C., area, told The Associated Press.
The mother of a child Black females had a fatal rate that was three times more than white women. Hispanic American women had a maternal mortality rate that grew by 54% in the year 2020.
Experts also suggested doctors’ burnout and fewer in-person interaction with their patients the possible cause of the increased number of maternal deaths that will occur in 2021.
The providers “were having to take snap decisions and may not be paying attention to patients in the same way,” Griffin told the the AP. “Women were expressing that they believed that something was wrong, but were not getting heard.”