Sisters, Stay Alive & Informed!

Officially join my family and receive information, insight and inspiration on living a healthy, happy and prosperous life.

    I am not a robot

    Our Privacy Policy

    Behind the Numbers, There are Names

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | March 19th, 2023

    Behind the Numbers, There are Names

    It is hard to believe that a country that was the first to put someone on the Moon on July 20, 1969, cannot guarantee a mother will survive childbirth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Maternal Mortality rates in the United States for 2021. It was all over the news last week. In 2021, 1205 women died of maternal causes in the United States, compared with 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2021. The maternal mortality rate in 2021 was 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with a rate of 23.8 in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate compared to Black women are 2.6 times more likely to die than White women. It was safer to deliver a baby in 1987 when the maternal mortality rate was 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births. Behind the numbers is a baby who will never know their mother. These women are daughters, sisters, aunts, and mothers. Each of these women that died had a name.

    The World Health Organization states that maternal mortality is a general indicator of the overall health of a population, the status of women in society, and the functioning of the health system. If we had to give a report card, we would get an F.  

    I have written about maternity mortality in two previous blogs –

    Why are My Sisters Dying? – summarizes an article written in the New York Times on April 11, 2018, titled, Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis: The answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America written by Linda Villarosa.

    A Call to Action – Improve Maternal Health – the Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, reported how each of us has a unique role in improving maternal health.

    These blogs were written on April 22, 2018, and December 6, 2020, and some people said they were unaware there was a problem in the United States until this recent CDC report. People are working from a policy lens to ensure women have access to good quality care, but what can we do now? It is time for all of us to wake up. 

    • Avoiding unintended pregnancy – using birth control until ready to become pregnant.
    • Seeking prenatal care early and going to your prenatal care visit regularly.
    • Get a doula or anyone who will be your advocate.
    • Do not be afraid to ask questions.
    • Listening to your body – if something does not feel right, get help immediately. 
    • If you do not feel the hospital or the health care provider is not listening, find another hospital or provider.
    • If you have a chronic illness like high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma, ensure you manage it appropriately. How it is controlled during pregnancy may differ from when you are not pregnant.
    • If you are high risk while pregnant, you should have your first visit postpartum within two weeks and then again at 4 – 6 weeks.
    • Go to your postpartum visit.

    I am convinced if we had the same commitment to putting a man on the moon, we could eliminate preventable maternal death. We owe this to the women of our nation.

    Leave a Reply

    Secure Your Copy of Sincerely, Your Gynecologist by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.

    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

    Click here to Buy Now on Amazon

    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.

    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.

    Ready to Commit to Living a Healthier Life, Start Here with…

    Dr Ngozi’s 30 Day Alive & Healthy Challenge

    Get 30 days of insight and inspiration on creating and sustaining a healthy lifestyle straight from the
    doctor. Share this valuable resource with your mother, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins
    and girlfriends. Do it solo, or in a group. Simply do it! Join our mailing list and get instant access to this life-saving resource now!