ILLINOIS (WTHI) -- The United States ranks last among other wealthy countries when it comes to maternal deaths. That's according to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Across the country, states have taken steps to help prevent the deaths of mothers and their babies. Thursday, Illinois took a look at its maternal mortality rate and what health care providers can do to help.
It's the sound every new mother holds her breath to hear, the first cries of her newborn baby. But even with the advanced technologies of the United States, many women still die from pregnancy, birth, or complications afterward.
The Illinois Department of Health has been tracking maternal morbidity and mortality since 2018. Thursday, they released the second edition of the report with data from 2016 to 2018
"Addressing maternal mortality is important because it is a key indicator of the well-being of a community," Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois department of public health said.
The report shows a small number of women in Illinois who have died as a direct result of pregnancy or birth, but health leaders said there are many more women who suffer from severe maternal morbidity.
IDOH said in its first report, black women were 6x more likely to die from pregnancy or birth than white women. They said now, it's only 3x more likely, but they said that's not because of positive trends.
"While the disparity has narrowed for pregnancy-related deaths between black and white women it is not due to conditions improving for black women. But is instead due to worsening conditions for white women," Dr. Ezike said.
And after looking at each death, the committees found 83% of them were potentially preventable.
Leaders said they are working with hospitals, providers, social services, and state agencies to help prevent any more deaths from happening.
You can see the full report, watch the press conference and learn more by visiting their website, here.