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CGD in the News

Millions of U.S. women are pregnant in a pandemic. Here’s what we know — and what we don’t. (The Lily)

March 26, 2020

From the article:

“…Experts are worried about the impact of these disruptions in maternal health care. In the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, fewer women used maternal health services for fear of going to hospitals packed with infected patients. As a result, maternal mortality increased even for women who weren’t infected.

‘Unfortunately, we know that past epidemics have taken a great toll on pregnant women and newborns, with large spikes in maternal and neonatal deaths due to disrupted access to labor and delivery care,’ says Carleigh Krubiner, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and faculty member at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

This will be particularly difficult in the United States, which has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, and where many women do not receive the prenatal care they need in the best of times. Nationwide, the maternal mortality rate is 2.5 times higher for black women than their white counterparts. In some states, 16 percent of women of childbearing age do not have health insurance. Moreover, a third of the poorest Americans do not have paid sick leave, meaning that for many women pregnant right now, self-isolating is a pipe dream.

‘As resources are rapidly deployed to meet the needs of patients severely affected by covid-19, we cannot forget that other patient groups also have critical and urgent health needs during this time,’ Krubiner says. ‘This includes pregnant women, who will continue to need essential obstetrical services in the coming months to safely carry and deliver their babies…’”

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Carleigh Krubiner
Policy Fellow