The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. Additionally, the CDC defined pregnancy-related death “as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy from a pregnancy complication, a chain of events initiated by pregnancy, or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.”
In April, Ilinois became the first state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to extend Medicaid up to a full year after pregnancy.
“This is tremendous,” KarenTabb Dina told Kaiser Health News as part of a reporting partnership with Illinois Public Media, NPR, and Kaiser Health News. “One of the greatest risk factors for maternal deaths is lack of access to care: not being able to access the right providers and to be seen in a timely manner.”
Tabb Dina is a maternal health researcher who is a part of a state-level committee that attempts to figure out the reasons behind maternal deaths. According to the report, the group’s most recent analysis found that each year, approximately 75 women in Illinois die from pregnancy-related causes.
The article also explained that Medicaid—which is a state and federal program mainly for low-income Americans—covers people with higher incomes during pregnancy. However, most states kick women off the rolls 60 days after giving birth.
“As a result, hundreds of thousands of women who’ve recently had a baby end up uninsured each year,” reports Kaiser Health News.
The National Women’s Law Center pointed out that women with coverage through the health insurance marketplaces may also be eligible for pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage. Some pregnant women in marketplace plans may find switching to Medicaid advantageous during their pregnancy since Medicaid has no cost-sharing for pregnancy-related services. As a result, enrolled women do not have to worry about co-payments for prenatal services or high deductibles for a hospital stay.
Kaiser Health News also reported that Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, who was sworn in to lead the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in May, said that the pandemic allowed people to see what happens when people do not have health insurance and how important it is.
“Our focus is going to be on making sure regulations and policies are going to be focused on improving coverage,” Brooks-LaSure said in the article.
After a baby is born, assessing emotional well-being is important for healthcare providers, according to experts. Depression can also be a medical complication to note, although it can be overlooked.
“Perinatal depression and other mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders can have devastating effects on women, infants, and families; maternal suicide exceeds hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders as a cause of maternal mortality,” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also concluded.