New Study: US Maternal Mortality Remains Highest Among Wealthy Nations

Despite a post-covid decline, 2022 saw around 22 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births in America. Norway in contrast saw 0 maternal deaths. See what experts say the US can do.
save article
profile picture of Wyndi Kappes
By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published June 6, 2024
close up of pregnant belly
Image: Dean Drobot | Shutterstock

A new study published by The Commonwealth Fund is calling attention once again to America’s unacceptably high maternal mortality rate.

Despite declines in the overall rate post-covid the US maternal deaths in 2022 continued to hover around 22 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. This number is the highest among high-income countries around the world and comes in stark contrast to other nations like Norway which reported 0 maternal deaths during the same period.

What’s more, the study shows that not all Americans are being treated equally. The maternal mortality rate for Black women sits at nearly 50 deaths per 100,000 live births. Prior research points to unequal care with Black people receiving worse-quality care than white people on 52 percent of measures, from access to needed care to care outcomes and patients’ perceptions of care. This lack of care isn’t just happening in the delivery room, though. The study points out that nearly 2 out of 3 maternal deaths in the US occur during the postpartum period, up to 42 days following birth.

The good news is that the study shows that over 80 percent of US maternal deaths are preventable. Big differences in prenatal, labor and delivery and postpartum support is a common theme when pointing out the divide between countries like the US and Norway. For instance, compared to women in high-income countries, US women are the least likely to have postpartum supports such as home visits and guaranteed paid leave.

The study also points out that the US and Canada have the lowest supply of midwives and ob-gyns and in these countries ob-gyns outnumber midwives. This is critical as midwives can help with a wider range of services beyond your normal ob-gyn including extended postpartum care. The research sites a recent study found that a midwife workforce, integrated into health care delivery, could provide 80 percent of essential maternal care around the world and potentially avert 41 percent of maternal deaths, 39 percent of neonatal deaths, and 26 percent of stillbirths.

New initiatives to address these issues are gaining traction and all important funding though. The Black Maternal Health Caucus (BMHC), 4Kira4Moms and several other mom advocacy groups recently helped push through $100 Million in funding for maternal health. From better midwife education and funding to postpartum care programs and the expansion of hospitals into maternity care deserts, there is progress being made and work being done. You can learn more about how you can support legislation dedicated to helping moms at

save article
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List

Next on Your Reading List

best postpartum pads and underwear
7 Best Postpartum Pads, Tested by a Mom of a Newborn
By Jennifer Wirth
pregnant woman sitting on couch at home
Over $100 Million in Funding for Maternal Health Signed Into Law
By Wyndi Kappes
mom holding baby with skin-to-skin contact
7 Ways to Prepare for the Reality of the Fourth Trimester
By Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN
kate middleton announces cancer diagnosis march 2024
How Kate Middleton Discussed Her Cancer Diagnosis With Her Kids
By Wyndi Kappes
jessica pettway dead at 36 from cervical cancer
Momfluencer Jessica Pettway Dies of Cervical Cancer After Misdiagnosis
By Wyndi Kappes
woman with cramping in bed
Postpartum Cramping: What's Normal (and What's Not)
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
Bradley Cooper and Lea De Seine Shayk Cooper attend Netflix's "Maestro" Los Angeles Photo Call at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Bradley Cooper Admits He Intially Struggled to Bond With His Daughter
By Wyndi Kappes
New mom holds her newborn on her chest.
The Fourth Trimester: How Baby Adjusts to Life Outside the Womb
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
sick woman blowing her nose at home
Peak Season for Respiratory Viruses Has Passed, CDC Data Shows
By Wyndi Kappes
Scheana Shay at the "Vanderpump Rules" Season 11 Premiere held at the Hollywood Palladium on January 17, 2024 in Los Angeles, California
Vanderpump Rules’ Scheana Shay Opens Up About Postpartum OCD Diagnosis
By Wyndi Kappes
BOTB Best Postpartum Kits-hero
9 Best Mom-Tested Postpartum Kits for Care and Recovery
By Elizabeth Narins
father hugging breastfeeding mom and newborn baby
Mom Makes Postpartum To-Do List for Partners Who Want to Help
By Wyndi Kappes
elyse myers shares her 4 month old son needs heart surgery
Elyse Myers Reveals Her Son Will Undergo Surgery for Hole in His Heart
By Wyndi Kappes
mom and toddler brushing teeth in bathroom
Can Mom "Pass Cavities on" to Baby? Study Reveals Possible Connection
By Wyndi Kappes
mother wearing postpartum underwear and holding baby
9 Best Postpartum Underwear, According to New Moms
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
little girl sleeping in hospital bed with teddy bear
How the Red Cross Emergency Blood Shortage Could Impact Kids
By Wyndi Kappes
woman turning fan on in bedroom
Why You're Dealing With Postpartum Night Sweats
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
mother holding newborn baby while sitting on couch at home
The Baby Pinks: What to Know About Postpartum Euphoria
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
mother and baby looking at smartphone on the couch at home
Why Does My Baby…Google Releases 2023's Trending Searches
By Wyndi Kappes
father bathing newborn baby in kitchen at home
How Often Should You Bathe a Newborn?
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
Article removed.