The United States’ Maternal Mortality

The rate of maternal mortality has dropped drastically in many countries, including the developing ones. Indeed, this is attributable to the incredible developments and improvements in health care and more so, in the care given to expectant and nursing mothers. However, according to an article published in The New York Times on 3 September 2016, it is not the case in the United States, especially Texas. In Texas, the number of maternal mortality in 100,000 live births has increased from 17.7 in the year 2000, to 35.5 in 2014. Similarly, other states such as Columbia have seen an increase in maternal mortality ratio, a fact that has made America to be rated as the second highest in the rates of maternal deaths among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).[1]

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In fact, the health of expectant women during the perinatal duration, at birth, and during the post-partum period is fundamental to the development of the United States as well as other nations, as stipulated in the Millennium Development Goals 4. The goal is to reduce the levels of child deaths, while the MDG 5 emphasizes on achieving accessibility to reproductive health for all and improving maternal wellbeing. Indeed, studies have shown that there is a correlation amid maternal mortality ratio and the economic development of a country. Therefore, any country with the intentions of exploring the heights of economic development ought to ensure the health and wellbeing of mothers and their infants before, during, and after pregnancy.[2]

Scarcity of reasonably priced primary care services is one of the key concepts in economic analysis of this article. Many women living in the United States lack affordable access to primary healthcare services, including contraceptives since they are uninsured. In fact, almost half of pregnancy cases in America are unplanned. Studies have demonstrated that women who unintendedly become pregnant are more vulnerable to complications leading to maternal death as compared to those who plan.[3] Moreover, low-income women who are not insured due to the high cost of healthcare policies have higher chances of getting pregnant unintentionally. Consequently, they lack the opportunity to receive perinatal care, which increases their vulnerability of developing unmanaged protracted health conditions that increases their risks of maternal mortality.

Efficiency is another concept that can be applied in the analysis of this article. The economic growth of a nation is determined by the productivity of its citizens. For the United States to realize an increase in the Gross Domestic Product, it should be committed to reverse the current maternal mortality statistics. Indeed, this article depicts the current systemic barriers that hinder most women, particularly the low income, from getting access to quality primary health care, leading to higher rates of maternal mortality. The causal effect of the high maternal mortality ratio is a reduction in GDP as the underprivileged women are not able to contribute to the economic during the gestation period and after delivery.[4] The one thing that policymakers, legislatures, and healthcare practitioners ought to understand is that every expectant woman deserves utmost standards of compassionate healthcare to ensure benign and safe outcomes for herself and the baby, which could increase the efficiency of health in GDP. Restructuring the barriers in the healthcare system of America is fundamental to ensuring efficiency and the realization of the millennium development goals.


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[1] The New York Times. America’s Shocking Maternal Deaths. 2016. Available at


[2] Marian MacDorman, F. PhD; Declercq, Eugene PhD; Cabral, Howard PhD; Morton, Christine PhD. Recent Increase in the US Maternal Mortality Rate: Disentangling Trends from Measurement Issues. Obstetrics and Gynecology; 2016; 128(3): 447-445.


[3] William, Callaghan, M. Overview of Maternal Mortality in the United States. Seminars in Perinatology. 2012. Print.


[4] Brian, Biggs, Lawrence King, Sanjay Basu, and David Stuckler. Is wealthier always healthier? The impact of national income level, inequality, and poverty on public health in Latin America. Social Science and Medicine 2010. 71(2): 266-273.


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