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Blue Cross study: Adverse maternal outcomes higher for women of color


A new Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report shows that severe maternal morbidity (SMM) rates are increasing among women of color in the United States. According to the report, “Racial Disparities in Maternal Health,” SMM rates were substantially higher for women in majority Black and Hispanic communities (63% and 32%, respectively) than for women in majority white communities. The BCBSA report examines the rate of childbirth complications as measured by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s SMM Measure — a list of adverse events or unexpected outcomes from labor and delivery with significant short- or long-term consequences to a woman’s health. The Iowa Department of Health has also reported increases in SMM among Iowans, with higher rates among Black and Hispanic women. “The higher maternal morbidity rates among women of color are untenable in this era of advanced medicine,” said Dr. Tim Gutshall, Wellmark’s senior medical director. “We must understand and address these health disparities to ensure women of all races experience healthy pregnancies and babies.” Wellmark provides members with online resources for a healthy pregnancy and offers a pregnancy support program to mothers throughout their pre- and postnatal journeys.

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