Why Is the MMR Rising?

Based on the trends of the past 15 years, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is increasing. There doesn’t seem to be any single cause that can be identified as “the” reason. Having looked at the research, I think there are three categories that contribute to the increase in MMR.

  • Access to prenatal and postnatal healthcare is inconsistent. In short, we don’t seem to spend enough time teaching mothers how to have a healthy baby, and then we don’t follow the mom’s health as well as we should to make sure she stays healthy. No single reason stood out, but the factors that stood out are the closing of rural hospitals, race and ethnicity, and limited access to healthcare coverage.
  • Women are waiting to have children later in life. While that’s a personal decision and can be related to the economy of the 21st century, every year older raises the risk of complications.
  • Women who wait to have children have a higher rate of obesity; along with that come a higher rate of prediabetes, hypertension, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Those seem to be the contributing factors to the increase in MMR. The question is what can be done about it? I’ll cover that on Saturday.

What are you prepared to do today?

Dr. Chet


1. Beckers Hospital Review. December 2016.
2. America’s Health Rankings. 2016.
3. Obstetrics & Gynecology: August 2017;130(2):366–373.


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