THURSDAY, Oct. 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) — From 2015 to 2019, all-cause mortality rates for recently pregnant women increased 4.4 percent annually, according to a research letter published in the Oct. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jeffrey T. Howard, Ph.D., from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and colleagues reported the rates and annual percentage changes (APCs) for pregnancy-related and other causes of mortality among pregnant and recently pregnant women from 2015 to 2019 using data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

The researchers found that 9,532 pregnant women died from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, the pregnancy-related mortality rate was 27.5 per 100,000 live births, which was not significantly different from the rate in 2015. Between 2015 and 2019, mortality rates among recently pregnant women increased per 100,000 live births, from 44.4 to 53.9 for all causes, from 4.3 to 8.8 for drug/alcohol poisoning, and from 2.0 to 3.9 for homicide. The increases in mortality rates due to all causes and drug/alcohol poisoning were statistically significant (APCs, 4.4 and 17.4 percent, respectively), while the increase due to homicide was not. Mortality rates did not increase significantly for any cause for the total female population of childbearing age. Compared with the total female population, for recently pregnant women, all-cause and drug/alcohol poisoning APCs were significantly higher.

“These findings suggest risk factors beyond pregnancy-specific complications for which enhanced surveillance, prevention, and intervention measures may be warranted,” the authors write.

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