Maternal health equity: scale of impact
In the developed world, the United States is the most dangerous place to give birth—especially for women of color.1 Grasping the extent of maternal health disparities is the first step in being able to provide support to expectant mothers in your workforce.
The vast majority of women in the workplace (85%) will become mothers during their careers.2
Each year, 50,000 women suffer from life-threatening pregnancy complications.3
Women in majority Black communities face 63 percent higher rates of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) than women in majority white communities.*4
*Among women with employer-sponsored health insurance.
Impact on employers
With women accounting for nearly half the American workforce,18 maternal health disparities can have a huge impact on the health and overall well-being of your employees, their families and your business.
To help advance maternal health equity, employers can support improving access to quality care.Read More
Advancing maternal health equity takes all of us.
There’s much more to learn about the diverse populations affected by maternal health disparities, key contributing factors and actionable strategies for employers to advance maternal health equity. Download our latest Health Equity mini-eMagazine and join the charge to change the tide at smarterbetterhealthcare.com.Learn More
1 Roosa Tikkanen, et al., Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care in the United States Compared to 10 Other Developed Countries, The Commonwealth Fund, Nov. 18, 2020.
2, 18 Bryan Robinson, “Pregnancy Discrimination In The Workplace Affects Mother And Baby Health,” Forbes, July 11, 2020.
3, 20, 21 Suzanne Delbanco, et al., “The Rising U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Demands Action from Employers,” Harvard Business Review, June 28, 2019.
4, 5, 6 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, The Health of America Report, “Racial Disparities in Maternal Health,” May 20, 2021.
7 Eugene Declercq and Laurie Zephyrn, Severe Maternal Morbidity in the United States: A Primer, The Commonwealth Fund, Oct. 28, 2021.
8 Gianna Melillo, “Racial Disparities Persist in Maternal Morbidity, Mortality and Infant Health,” AJMC, June 13, 2020.
9, 11 Samantha Artiga, et al., Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Health: An Overview, KFF, Nov. 10, 2020.
10 Tori B. Powell, “Black Women Are at Higher Risk for Miscarriage, Study Finds,” CBSN, Apr. 29, 2021.
12, 14 “Black Women Have the Highest Risk of Pregnancy-Related Heart Problems in the US,” American Heart Association, Dec. 16, 2020.
13 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Health of America, Maternal Health Data. 2020.
15 Zoleykha Asgarlou, Mohammad Arzanlou, and Mohammad Mohseni, “The Importance of Screening in Prevention of Postpartum Depression,” Iranian Journal of Public Health, May 2021, 1072–1073, cited in National Center for Biotechnology Information/US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
16 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Maternal Health Survey. 2020.
17 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Analysis on Postpartum Depression. 2022.
19 New WHO Guidance on Non-clinical Interventions Specifically Designed to Reduce Unnecessary Caesarean Sections, World Health Organization (WHO), 2018.