Maternal Health Suffered In Pandemic, But US Deaths Were Rising Before
A study covering 17 countries shows that maternal health complications, deaths and stillbirths rose during the pandemic. A separate CDC report shows that maternal mortality was up 15% in the U.S. in 2019 before the coronavirus had a major impact.
The New York Times:
More Pregnant Women Died And Stillbirths Increased Steeply During The Pandemic, Studies Show
More pregnant women died, experienced complications or delivered stillborn babies during the pandemic than in previous years, according to an analysis of 40 studies in 17 countries published on Wednesday in the journal Lancet Global Health. Pregnant women face a heightened risk of severe illness and death if infected with the coronavirus. But the researchers, in Turkey and the United Kingdom, wanted to assess collateral damage from the pandemic on pregnancy and delivery, and so excluded from their analysis those studies that focused only on pregnant women who were infected. (Mandavilli, 3/31)
Pandemic Raised Risk For Pregnant Women And Their Babies
Pregnant women and their babies are suffering worse outcomes during the Covid-19 pandemic, and researchers are sounding the alarm for immediate action to avoid rolling back decades of global investment in safe maternity care. Data from an analysis of 40 studies published during the last year across 17 countries found rates of stillbirth and maternal mortality increased by a third. Outcomes were worse in low- and middle-income countries, according to a report Wednesday in The Lancet medical journal. (Shah, 3/31)
Maternal Mortality Spiked In U.S. Ahead Of COVID Pandemic
The rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. increased by more than 15% in 2019, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. The surge occurred as the country was on the brink of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruption of traditional medical care. The full impact of the pandemic on maternal health outcomes remains to be seen, though some have feared it could worsen what's already considered a crisis. ... [Dr. Neel] Shah, who was not involved in the new study, adds that even if there wasn't a massive change in maternal mortality during the pandemic, COVID-19 disrupted the care and well-being of moms, including early on when support people were shut out of delivery rooms. (Ciruzzo, 4/1)
In other maternal health news —
Generations Of Families Go To These New York Health Clinics. Now They May Close For Good.
The clinic is run by Public Health Solutions, one of its two sexual and reproductive health centers in Brooklyn. The clinics have become trusted providers for many. It's not uncommon for the staffers to treat generations of families. But now, the two clinics are set to lose nearly $1.8 million in state funding based on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's latest Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal. Without the funding, the clinics would shutter, and 3,500 patients — primarily women of color living on low incomes — would have to go somewhere else. (Rinkunas, 4/1)
The Fayetteville Observer:
Fayetteville Doula, Clinic Address Black Maternal Mortality Rate
[Angela Tatum] Malloy opened her clinic, Momma's Village, to fill that need. "We did not have (Black doulas) back in 2018, we didn't have any and what I do when we don't have it, then I go and create it," she said. Momma's Village offers a variety of services such as breastfeeding support, doulas and mental health services. The clinic also focuses on postpartum care. A majority of the services are covered by insurance, including Medicaid, but for now the doula services are not covered. (Kyles, 4/1)
Should Pregnant And Lactating People Get The Vaccine?
One year ago, around the end of March, Carly Taylor received a positive result for two tests in two consecutive weeks. The first was a test for the new coronavirus. The second was a pregnancy test. Her daughter, Ophelia, arrived on December 22, within days of the public debut of the first COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. In the weeks after, Taylor, a 20-year-old former day-care worker who lives in Alabama—a state she describes as “a cesspit of anti-vax rhetoric”—waffled on whether to get her shots. No pregnant or lactating people had been enrolled in the clinical trials run by Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech; health agencies like the CDC and the World Health Organization were treading carefully, or even discouraging pregnant people from getting certain shots, in their official guidance. Taylor’s social-media feed had been flooded with speculation about the shots’ effects on fertility and infant health. Even her father and stepmother had doubts, citing QAnon conspiracy theories about the vaccine’s dubious contents. “At first,” she told me, “I thought, I don’t know.” (Wu, 3/31)
New Mexico In Depth:
No One In This State Is Officially Tracking The Quality Of Care In Neonatal Centers
New Mexico parents worrying over the health of an extremely preterm baby have another reason to be concerned: Their state government provides almost no oversight of the care provided by neonatal intensive care units. Thirty-one states, including neighboring Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah, have laws or rules requiring oversight of neonatal intensive care hospitals, according to a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. Some of these states make sure that hospitals provide care at the levels they claim to, and some periodically review data on patient admissions, transfers and outcomes to identify potential problems. (Furlow, 3/31)