Unfortunately, the United States experienced an increase in its maternal mortality rate over a 20-year span ranging from 1999 to 2019 according to a new study. The hike in maternal deaths ranks the U.S. as "the highest of maternal mortality among wealthy nations," according to the Associated Press.

What defines a "maternal death?"

The Montana Department of Health defines a maternal death as "the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes."

First reported by the Associated Press, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that maternal deaths doubled in the last 20 years. The study broke down the numbers state-by-state and regionally, as well as by race and ethnicity.

The study quantified MMRs as "maternal deaths per 100 000 live births.'

Breaking down the race and ethnicity numbers

"In 2019, MMR's in most states were higher among American Indian and Alaska Native and Black populations than among Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; Hispanic; and white populations," stated JAMA's study.

That being said, all racial groups took a significant jump according to the study.

American Indian/Alaska Natives: 26.7 to 55.4 MMRs
African Americans: 9.6 to 20.9 MMRs
Asian/Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders: 9.6 to 26.3 MMRs
Caucasians: 9.4 to 26.3 MMRs

Breaking down Montana's numbers

In 2020, Montana had 3 maternal deaths out of 10,794 live births, or approximately 28 MMRs, per the 2020 Montana Vital Statistics report. For reference, 2020's number isn't a huge jump from years past. From 2017-2019 each year had two maternal deaths out of approximately 10,000 live births. The highest numbers came in 2011 and 2009 when each year had 5 maternal deaths out of approximately 12,000 live births.



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