Disparity Between White and Black Women
The infant mortality rate over the past two decades has dropped significantly due to advances in technology and a deeper understand of prenatal and postnatal diseases and conditions like sudden infant death syndrome. However, maternal mortality has not declined at all over the same period. In a major study recently conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), results indicated no change over the past two decades, “The number of women who die from pregnancy or childbirth has remained the same since 1982, despite advances that could prevent half of maternal deaths. Data from death certificates indicated seven to eight women died for every 100,000 live births between 1982 and 1996. No progress has been made since 1982 in reducing the number of maternal deaths” (Cooper 1).
The study by the CDC defined maternal deaths as those deaths that occurred “during a pregnancy or within 42 days of the end of a pregnancy and for which the cause of death was listed as a complication of pregnancy, childbirth, or the puerperium” (Maternal 1). The Federal Government set the national goal of maternal mortality at 3.3 per 100,000 in a policy program known as the Healthy People 2000 initiative. However, the national rate of 7.7 per 100,000 currently is more than twice that goal. Yet, despite this high average and no reduction in two decades there have also been no reductions in the rate of maternal mortality by race. Black women were shown to still be four times or more as likely as white women to die during childbirth or from complications thereof, “During that time, trends by race were similar to the overall ratio, and no reductions were observed for either black or white women. Maternal mortality ratios remained higher for black women than for white women. Ratios for black women generally fluctuated between 18 and 22 per 100,000” (Maternal 1).
The study was eve...