FRIDAY, Oct. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Women of color have higher rates of severe birth-related health issues compared with non-Hispanic white women, according to a study published online Oct. 10 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Lindsay K. Admon, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used 2012 to 2015 data from the National Inpatient Sample to define the prevalence of chronic conditions and incidence of severe maternal morbidity among deliveries to non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Native American or Alaska Native women.

The researchers found that the incidence of severe maternal morbidity was significantly higher among deliveries to women in every racial and ethnic minority category versus deliveries among non-Hispanic white women. Severe maternal morbidity occurred in 231.1 per 10,000 delivery hospitalizations among non-Hispanic black women and 139.2 per 10,000 delivery hospitalizations among non-Hispanic white women (P < 0.001). When excluding cases in which blood transfusion was the only indicator of severe maternal morbidity, only deliveries to non-Hispanic black women had a higher incidence of severe maternal morbidity versus non-Hispanic white women (risk ratio 1.2; risk difference 9.3 per 10,000 delivery hospitalizations; P < 0.001 for both). There were also significant differences in severe maternal morbidity among racial and ethnic minorities versus non-Hispanic white women when assessing deliveries to women with comorbid physical and behavioral health conditions. The largest disparities were identified among women with multiple chronic conditions.

“Programs for reducing racial and ethnic disparities in severe maternal morbidity may have the greatest effect focusing on women at highest risk for blood transfusion and maternity care management for women with comorbid chronic conditions, particularly multiple chronic conditions,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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