Reducing Maternal Mortality

Women in the United States face a far greater risk of dying from childbirth complications than in many other wealthy countries.

Now the federal government has taken a step toward addressing the problem with the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, signed in December, which will provide federal grants to states to investigate the deaths of women who die within a year of being pregnant.

A report released by the Commonwealth Fund in December that looked at 11 high-income countries found that American women have the greatest risk — 14 deaths per 100,000 births — of dying from pregnancy complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an even higher rate, 18 per 100,000.

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