Fuzzy Maternal Math

Varying methodologies and data-gathering limitations make it difficult to determine the US maternal mortality rate, reports The Economist.

Determining death rates using death certificates yields a US maternal death rate of 21 deaths per 100,000 live births. But the CDC’s method, which uses data from several sources, results in a US maternal death rate of 17 deaths per 100,000 live births.

In 2003, a checkbox was added to death certificates asking whether the deceased had been pregnant. This change has pros and cons, said Johns Hopkins University’s Andreea Creanga. Its growing use accounts for 80% of the rise in maternal deaths from 2000-2014, but it is sometimes marked erroneously.

Source: The Economist

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