The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Pregnancy-Related Deaths Climb Ever since Covid

Mar 20, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just released a shocking report about deaths of mothers from complications during and soon after pregnancy—maternal mortality.

Death certificate reviews found that maternal mortality jumped up once the Covid pandemic started. In 2020, there was a 20% increase in maternal death. In 2021, maternal mortality increased another 40%.

Having Covid can be dangerous for pregnant women. Pregnancy causes a loss of lung capacity and a higher risk of blood clots, and works the heart, lungs, and kidneys harder. The Covid virus can attack any of these already vulnerable systems.

This devastating jump in maternal deaths in 2020 and 2021 left thousands of infants and children to grow up without their mothers. That human toll is difficult to fathom.

A maternal mortality crisis like what happened in 2021 has not been seen since the mid-1960s—for almost 60 years! The 2021 rate was 33 deaths per 100,000 births. And for black mothers, the rate was double that—70 deaths per 100,000 births. In all income groups, black women had a higher rate of maternal mortality. That is a disgusting result in a rich country!

By comparison, in countries with a somewhat functional public health system, Covid did NOT cause such a huge increase in maternal deaths. For example, look at Australia, Austria, Japan and Spain. In these 4 countries there were between 2 and 3 maternal deaths per 100,000 births—during the pandemic!

Beyond the impact of still-present Covid, the advocacy group March of Dimes describes another problem. In the U.S., 36% of counties are “maternity care deserts.” They have no OB-GYN doctor, labor and delivery hospital or any type of pre-natal care. Going without prenatal care increases the risk of pregnancy-related death by three to four times.

Maternal care units are shut down to “save money.” According to a researcher, "Running a labor and delivery unit is expensive. … The facility must be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a team of specialized nurses." In other words, blind capitalism cannot be bothered nurturing a new generation of healthy moms and babies—unless there is money to be made in it!

The Covid pandemic worsened the already broken U.S. healthcare system. The pandemic exposed the need for a completely new healthcare system!