(WKBN) – According to 2017 – 2019 data recently released, it’s suggested that more than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this can provide better insight on how to protect future pregnant people.

The data came from Maternal Mortality Review committees, which consist of representatives with clinical and non-clinical backgrounds. They reviewed the circumstances regarding pregnancy-related deaths to identify the causes and possible preventions.

“The report paints a much clearer picture of pregnancy-related deaths in this country,” said Dr. Wanda Barfield, director of CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

The key findings from the data are as follows:

  • 22% of deaths occurred during pregnancy
  • 25% of deaths occurred on the day of delivery or within seven days after
  • 53% of deaths occurred between seven days and a year after pregnancy

The leading underlying causes of pregnancy-related death include the following:

  • Mental health conditions (including deaths to suicide and overdose/poisoning related to substance use disorder) (23%)
  • Excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) (14%)
  • Cardiac and coronary conditions (relating to the heart) (13%)
  • Infection (9%)
  • Thrombotic embolism (a type of blood clot) (9%)
  • Cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle) (9%)
  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (relating to high blood pressure) (7%)

Of those affected by these statistics, a disproportionate number belonged to those belonging to minority groups such as First Nations people, Hispanic people and Black people.

Cardiac and coronary conditions were the leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths among non-Hispanic Black people. Mental health conditions affected Hispanic and non-Hispanic white people. Hemorrhage was the leading underlying cause for Asian people.

The CDC calls for improved healthcare and community support systems to prevent these deaths. Wider access to insurance coverage for prenatal and follow-up care, as well as improved availability to transportation resources, are thought to reduce the number of deaths from preventable causes.

“The majority of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable, highlighting the need for quality improvement initiatives in states, hospitals, and communities that ensure all people who are pregnant or postpartum get the right care at the right time,” said Barfield.