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May 11, 2001
Contact: Katie Baer
CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention
& Health Promotion
(770) 488–5131

Fact Sheet

Pregnancy-Related Mortality

  • Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women suffer a significantly higher risk of pregnancy-related mortality than non-Hispanic white women, while black women continue to have the highest risk of all of these racial and ethnic groups.

  • There were 3193 pregnancy-related deaths between 1991 and 1997 in the United States. This results in an overall pregnancy-related mortality ratio (PRMR) of 11.5 per 100,000 live births.

  • Hispanic women had a PRMR of 10.3 for the study period, while Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indian/Alaska Natives had higher PRMRs, 11.3 and 12.2 respectively. In comparison, non-Hispanic whites had a PRMR of 7.3 and blacks had a PRMR of 29.6.

  • The risk of a pregnancy-related death was lowest for women under the age of 30, rising after the age of 35, for all of the racial and ethnic groups where there was a large enough number to analyze.

  • Place of birth, within the United States or elsewhere, was also related to the PRMR for some racial and ethnic groups. Hispanic women born outside of the United States had nearly a 50% higher PRMR than Hispanic women born within the United States.

  • Women of Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native origin represented 16% of the reproductive-age population in 1997, but accounted for nearly a quarter of all of the live births in the United States. The Census Bureau projects by 2025, women of these racial and ethnic groups will make up a quarter of the women in the United States.

  • A pregnancy-related death is defined as a death that occurred to women during their pregnancy or within one year after the end of the pregnancy, resulting from pregnancy complications or effects.

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This page last reviewed May 11, 2001

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention