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Pregnancy-Related Deaths Double in Texas Over a Short Time

  New studies show pregnancy-related deaths among Texas women doubled between 2011 and 2015. Cardiac events topped the list of direct causes, followed by drug overdoses, both legal and illegal.  Other causes included hypertension, bleeding, infection, homicide and suicide. “There were several things that we identified that were more common among women who died: obesity, chronic […]

In a report published in the prestigious medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers found 537 Texas women died in childbirth — or soon after — between 2011 and 2015.

 

New studies show pregnancy-related deaths among Texas women doubled between 2011 and 2015.

Cardiac events topped the list of direct causes, followed by drug overdoses, both legal and illegal.  Other causes included hypertension, bleeding, infection, homicide and suicide.

“There were several things that we identified that were more common among women who died: obesity, chronic high blood pressure, diabetes, and late entry into prenatal care,” said Dr. Lisa Hollier, a Houston obstetrician and maternal-fetal specialists. She is chairwoman of the state task force that issued one of the recent reports.

In a report published in the prestigious medical journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers found 537 Texas women died in childbirth — or soon after — between 2011 and 2015.  That compares to 296 deaths in the four years between 2007 and 2010.

The death rate means Texas has higher maternal mortality than 31 industrialized counties, including Mexico.

Hollier’s task force released a separate study that looked at two years’ worth of data from 2011 and 2012. But the study delved more deeply into the causes of death and the demographics. It showed African-American women have the highest risk of dying in Texas.

 “African-American women accounted for only 11 percent of births in the 2011-2012 data that we looked at, but they accounted for 28 percent of maternal mortality,” Hollier said.

“That’s incredibly heart-breaking, and really underscores the need for us to pay special attention to the disparities that can contribute to this,” she added.

Hollier said many of the deaths could be prevented if Texas women had better access to basic healthcare as well as mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment.

Texas has the most uninsured people in the U.S. and state officials have declined to expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured residents.

Hollier noted there are some prenatal care services available for uninsured pregnant women in Texas, and they should call 211 to find a program.

 

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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