IDPH’s Latest Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report Reveals Inequities for Black Women

November 3, 2023

Last week the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released its third edition of the Illinois Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Report, which covers maternal deaths of Illinois residents.

This report, spanning from 2018-2020, identified that Black women continue to die at disparately higher rates due to issues that contribute to the overall causes, including medical difficulties related to cardiovascular disease and pre-existing chronic medical conditions.

The leading overarching cause of pregnancy-related death is substance use disorder (SUD).

Other findings include:

  • Black women were twice as likely to die from any pregnancy-related condition and three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related medical conditions as white women.
  • 91% of pregnancy-related deaths were potentially preventable due to clinical, system, social, community or patient factors.

“We continue to see unacceptable inequities in maternal mortality for Black women and women with lower socioeconomic status,” said IDPH Director Sameer Vohra, M.D. “Furthermore, SUD is the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, demonstrating the continued devastating impact of the opioid crisis. Areas of progress are being made, but the report is an acknowledgment that more needs to be done.”

Read IDPH’s News Release.

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