Facts behind the high death rate for mothers in Oklahoma

TULSA, Okla. — The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country – and Oklahoma ranks among the worst states for women dying during or shortly after pregnancy.

In 2019, a state law established Oklahoma’s maternal morbidity review committee.

The committee review nearly 200 deaths dating back to 2009 and found heart problems were the leading cause, followed by infection or sepsis, epilepsy, asthma, pneumonia, then hemorrhage.

>> Learn about the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Maternal Morality Review

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds two of three of these deaths are preventable.

Many of the complications happen in the hours or days after giving birth.

The CDC lists Oklahoma’s maternal mortality rate as 30.1 per 100,000 people.

On average, nearly one woman in Oklahoma dies each month because of complications from pregnancy or childbirth. Black women are more than two and a half times more likely to die than white women.

According to March of Dimes, nearly 12 percent of U.S. women of childbearing age don’t have health insurance. In Oklahoma, 19 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 don’t have health insurance.

Anyone can join FOX23 in the fight for the health of all mothers and babies by joining the March for Babies, a virtual walk scheduled for 10 a.m. on June 19.

Learn more here.