Disparities in Life-Threatening Birth Experiences

News & Research

Disparities in Life-Threatening Birth Experiences

Winter 2019
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Each year, tens of thousands of American women need emergency treatment to save their lives while they deliver their babies or immediately afterward. A Michigan Medicine-led study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that about 1.6 percent of births involve such care. The research also reveals how much a mother’s racial and ethnic background — and her health before pregnancy — affects her risk of a life-threatening birth experience. 

“Women of color who have chronic conditions before they have their baby appear to experience a double-whammy effect,” says Lindsay Admon (M.D. 2012, Residency 2016), the study’s lead author, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. “This should force us to think about how to structure care to best serve these vulnerable women — not only during pregnancy, but before and after giving birth, too.”