During the past several decades, the rate of maternal mortality
in the U.S. has declined dramatically. Since 1982, however, the
maternal mortality rate has not declined significantly.
In 2002, 357 maternal deaths resulted from complications during
pregnancy, childbirth, or up to 42 days postpartum. The maternal
mortality rate of 8.9 per 100,000 live births was not significantly
different from those reported in recent years.
The maternal mortality rate among non-Hispanic Black women (24.9
per 100,000 live births) is more than four times the rate among
non-Hispanic White women (5.6 per 100,000 live births). This disparity
has widened since 2000.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the risk
of maternal death increases for women over age 30, regardless of
race. Women aged 35-39 years have over three times the risk of maternal
death as women aged 20-24 years.1
1 National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States,
2004. Hyattsville, Maryland: 2004.