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Black women more likely to die during childbirth, study says

DELIVERY DANGERS: Serena Williams has revealed the life-threatening complications she faced after giving birth to her daughter

BLACK WOMEN are more likely to suffer life-threatening complications during childbirth, a new study by the University of Michigan has found.

According to the research, black women in the United States face a 70 per cent higher likelihood of experiencing serious problems during childbirth in comparison to non-Hispanic white women.

Researchers at the university reviewed the data from millions of births in the United States and discovered increased rates of danger for new mothers from ethnic minority backgrounds, even those who were previously healthy.

In addition to facing a higher rate of danger during delivery, women with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, depression or substance abuse issues were found to have a higher risk of these health problems post delivery.

Dr Lindsay Admon, an obstetrician/gynecologist and the study’s lead author, told University of Michigan's Health Lab: “Women of colour who have multiple health conditions before they have their baby appear to experience a double-whammy effect.

“This should force us to think about how to structure care to best serve these vulnerable women — not only during pregnancy but before and after giving birth, too.”

Earlier this year, Serena Williams revealed that she almost died after giving birth to her first child, a daughter named Alexis Olympia.

Williams, who was bedridden for six weeks after giving birth, wrote about her experience for CNN.

The 23-time grand slam champion suffered a pulmonary embolism, a blockage in an artery in the lungs by a blood clot.

She said: “My C-section wound popped open due to the intense coughing I endured as a result of the embolism. I returned to surgery, where the doctors found a large hematoma, a swelling of clotted blood, in my abdomen. And then I returned to the operating room for a procedure that prevents clots from traveling to my lungs. When I finally made it home to my family, I had to spend the first six weeks of motherhood in bed.”

Williams used her platform to share her story and highlight the dangers many black women face.

She said: “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women in the United States are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes.”

Admon said: “Celebrities like Serena Williams who have shared their birth-related emergency stories publicly have drawn the national spotlight to the urgent need to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care for women around the time of delivery. To drive and target those changes, we need specific data like these.”

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