Detroit has a maternal death rate that is triple the nation's

Jul 10, 2014

In Detroit, the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes is three times the national average.

Credit mich.gov / Michigan Government

Data from the state Department of Community Health show a maternal death rate that is even higher than countries like Libya and Vietnam.

High poverty and limited access to health care are the main culprits. Women living in poverty are less likely to receive consistent medical care before and during pregnancy, which can lead to complications during childbirth.

Dr. Sonia Hassan the associate dean for maternal, perinatal and child health at Wayne State University School of Medicine. She is working on a campaign to help more women in Detroit get the care they need.

"The most important thing is health before pregnancy, so cutting down the risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, those things are extremely important for any population," said Dr. Hassan. "But there is certainly a higher rate in African Americans."

About 42 percent of the city lives under the poverty line, more than any other major American city.

Dr. Gregory Goyert heads the maternal fetal medicine division at the Henry Ford Health Care System. He is hoping that Obamacare can be a part of the solution.

"I’m very optimistic that the Affordable Health Care Act is going to benefit our entire population but specifically it’s going to benefit our women, and our children and obstetric care," he said. 

Goyert says that in order to fight this, women need to become healthy before they get pregnant.

You can learn more about the campaign at Make Your Date

– Reem Nasr, Michigan Radio Newsroom