AUSTIN (KXAN) — A report on maternal mortality data in Texas was released Thursday, after a months-long delay. The report studied cases of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas and factors that affect the most at-risk populations in the state.
Among the findings in the report, obstetric hemorrhage was the leading cause of pregnancy-related death, followed by mental health conditions. The findings linked multiple causes to deaths, including obesity, discrimination and substance use.
The report found most pregnancy-related deaths were preventable.
The report details several recommendations to help women. The first is Texas expands access to comprehensive health services for women before pregnancy, during pregnancy and a year after birth.
Another recommendation takes aim at racial disparities.
The report was supposed to be released in September, as required by state law. However, the Department of State Health Services delayed the release of the report, to allow for a more detailed review of the data.
Some lawmakers and activists hope something will be passed in the next legislative session to streamline this review process.
“My top takeaway from the 2019 data is that the number of women dying in Texas from pregnancy actually increased instead of decreased and that almost 90% of these deaths were preventable. As a Black woman, I am also heartbroken to read the data that showed that pregnant Black women are more likely to hemorrhage to death than any other group,” said State Rep. Shawn Thierry (D-Houston).
“I have been on the front line fighting to improve women’s maternal health care in Texas and to eliminate health inequities for Black mothers. The 2020 MMRC report proves that my work is not done. Reducing the maternal mortality and morbidity rates in the state of Texas will be my top legislative priority for the 2023 session,” Thierry continued. “I have pre-filed legislation to address this crisis and including a bill to create the first statewide maternal mortality and morbidity data registry in our state. I will also be filing legislation to require cultural competency and implicit bias training for medical students and doctors.”
The DSHS media relations director, Chris Van Deusen, said reviewing these cases is more difficult in Texas than in any other state he knows.
This has to do with strict requirements surrounding redacting patient or medical provider information on medical documents before they can be reviewed and investigated.