Pregnant in the United States in the COVID-19 pandemic: a collision of crises we cannot ignore
Pamela Stratton; Elena Gorodetsky; Janine Clayton
Published: April 2021
Journal: Journal of the National Medical Association
The COVID-19 pandemic and call for social justice is occurring when the United States, unlike its peer countries, has already experienced a steady 20-year rise in maternal morbidity and mortality with pregnant women today facing a 50 percent higher risk of mortality than their mothers. Most vulnerable are women of color, black and American Indian/Alaska Native women, who have experienced longstanding disparities in access to and quality of healthcare and may begin pregnancy with hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, complications known to be more common in women enduring segregation. Initially, the race-related health disparities and resultant disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 cases and mortality in indigenous communities and black, latins, or other communities of color were mistakenly considered innate racial differences. More recently, these higher rates have been attributed to underlying social, structural, and environmental determinants of health including resource inequities, inadequate housing, and occupational and environmental hazards that result in greater exposure to and less protection from COVID-19.