By Marcy Norton
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The number of Philadelphia women dying within one year of giving birth is growing and a maternal mortality report issued by the Philadelphia Heath Department shows a lack of health care isn’t the problem.
Maternal mortality is rare in the U.S. compared to developing countries, but the report shows that between 2010 and 2012, Philadelphia’s maternal mortality rate was much higher than the national average. Bette Begleiter, deputy director of the Maternity Care Coalition, says of the 55 city women who died during the study period, just one died of a medically preventable condition. Many of the others had different problems.
“Issues that women were struggling with include long term mental health issues, substance abuse, depression, domestic violence, there were suicides, homicides,” said Begleiter.
Ninety-five percent of those who died were on Medicaid, and 75 percent were African American. Begleiter says this shows the community needs to do a better job of addressing the socio-economic conditions that are putting these new mothers at risk.