The nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office, which authored the report, analyzed pregnancy-related deaths after Congress mandated that it review maternal health outcomes in the 2020 coronavirus relief bill.
The maternal death rate in the U.S. is higher than many other developed nations and had been on the rise in the years leading up to the pandemic, but COVID-19 has only worsened conditions here for pregnant women.
Women who contract the virus while pregnant face elevated health risks. Staffing shortages and COVID-19 restrictions created more hurdles for expecting mothers to get in-person health care; And pandemic stress has intensified depression, a common condition during pregnancy.
Mental health issues likely contributed to the increase in pregnancy-related deaths, Tabb Dina said. Many women who experience depression and anxiety during or after their pregnancy struggle to get the care they need.
The biggest spike in deaths came during July through December of last year, as the COVID-19 delta variant infected millions, noted Carolyn Yocom, a director at the Government Accountability Office. (ANI)