Health risks in mothers can last up to one year after delivery

Dr. Kara Zivin is quoted. 

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While efforts have been focused on reducing severe complications during and directly following childbirth, new research suggests that these risks may persist for a year postpartum.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that Black mothers and mothers with depression or anxiety are more susceptible to longer-term risk following birth.

For the study, the research team analyzed the cases of more than 100,000 commercially insured individuals from a national data sample up to one year after they had given birth.

They found that nearly 1 in 333 women had “near miss” experiences that could have been fatal.


“We found persistent racial and ethnic disparities in rates of severe maternal morbidity in the late postpartum period as well as very high rates among individuals with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders,” senior author Kara Zivin, professor of psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan said in a statement.

“To improve outcomes through targeted interventions and policies, we need to find more comprehensive ways to capture the full picture of what drives maternal mortality and morbidity throughout the first year after pregnancy.”

Appropriate, timely care could have helped outcomes in certain populations, said the authors.

“Improving our understanding of the burden and impact of severe maternal morbidity will help us develop strategies to prevent these often tragic outcomes and improve postpartum care to help moms, babies, and their families,” Admon said in a statement.