‘We have no time to waste’: Fighting back against the maternal mortality crisis for women of color

Pennsylvania doesn’t just have a maternal mortality problem – it has a maternal mortality crisis.

According to the most recent report issued by the state’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, there were more than 100 maternal deaths in the commonwealth in 2018 – the most recent year for which data is available. And to illustrate the complexity of the issue, maternal deaths, both in Pennsylvania and across the nation, overwhelmingly impact women of color.

To measure the scope of the crisis, researchers often turn to the pregnancy-associated mortality ratio, or PAMR – a figure that measures the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. In Pennsylvania, non-Hispanic Black women have a pregnancy-assisted mortality ratio that is more than double the rate of white women, and similar figures can be seen nationally, per the state’s Maternal Mortality Review Commission.

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