Missouri sees high mortality rates for pregnant women

Missouri’s maternal mortality rate is ranked as one of the worst in a country already known for its high rate of deaths due to childbirth.

Last year’s Health of Women and Children Report by the United Health Foundation put the national average at nearly 20 deaths per 100,000 live births. The report put Missouri’s maternal mortality rate at more than 28 deaths per 100,000 live births, ranking the state in the bottom 10.

The Kansas City Star reports that the leading causes of maternal death in Missouri are cardiac-related. The state’s high smoking and obesity rates during pregnancy also put women at more risk for those complications.

Randall Williams is the director of the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. Williams says the majority of maternal deaths are preventable.