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By Laurel Duggan
Daily Caller News Foundation

Mental health issues were the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths from 2017 to 2019, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study released Tuesday.

Of all pregnancy-related deaths, 22.7% were related to suicide, overdose, substance abuse or other mental health factors, according to the CDC. Mental health issues represented nearly double the second-leading cause, hemorrhage (13.7%), which was followed by cardiac and coronary conditions (12.8%) and infections (9.2%).

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“The report paints a much clearer picture of pregnancy-related deaths in this country,” Wanda Barfield, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health said in a press relese. “The majority of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable, highlighting the need for quality improvement initiatives in states, hospitals, and communities that ensure all people who are pregnant or postpartum get the right care at the right time.”

White women had the highest percentage of mental health-related deaths at 34.8%, followed by Hispanic (24.1%), black (7%) and Asian (3.1%) women, the study found.

Only 21.6% of deaths occurred during pregnancy, while 25% occurred the week after delivery and 53% occurred between a week and a year after delivery. Nearly a third of deaths occurred in the late postpartum stage, between 45 days and a year postpartum.

The vast majority of pregnancy-related deaths, 84.2%, were preventable, meaning that reasonable changes to the patient, community, facility or medical services may have prevented the death, according to the study.

The data was gathered by Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs), which gather at the state or local level to review pregnancy-related deaths to examine causes of death and make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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