Risk fac­tors for new moms are as­sessed

State task force on ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity look­ing for so­lu­tions

The Dallas Morning News - - State - By JACKIE WANG Austin Bureau jackie.wang@dal­las­news.com Twit­ter: @jc­ql­nwng

AUSTIN — Know­ing cer­tain risk fac­tors could help health care providers pre­vent preg­nan­cyre­lated deaths in Texas, whose ma­ter­nity mor­tal­ity rate is the high­est in the de­vel­oped world.

The Texas Ma­ter­nal Mor­tal­ity and Mor­bid­ity Task Force dis­cussed iden­ti­fy­ing risk fac­tors for ma­ter­nal deaths Fri­day at the De­part­ment of State Health Ser­vices. It was the first time the task force met since law­mak­ers ex­tended the group’s ex­is­tence dur­ing the spe­cial leg­isla­tive ses­sion in July.

Karen Rug­giero, the di­rec­tor of ma­ter­nal and child health epi­demi­ol­ogy at the De­part­ment of State Health Ser­vices, pre­sented the task force with an up­dated data anal­y­sis. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s pur­pose was to ex­am­ine which de­mo­graphic fac­tors, health fac­tors and birth out­comes place moth­ers at higher risk for ma­ter­nal death, she said.

Texas earned the du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion of hav­ing the high­est rate of ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity in the de­vel­oped world af­ter it saw the death rate for preg­nant women dou­ble from 18.6 deaths to 35.8 deaths per 100,000 live births be­tween 2010 and 2014.

New stats re­vealed Fri­day showed that be­tween 2012 and 2015, 382 Texas women died from preg­nancy-re­lated and preg­nancy-as­so­ci­ated causes. Ac­cord­ing to the data an­a­lyzed, the most com­mon causes of death shortly af­ter giv­ing birth were heart fail­ure and hem­or­rhage. From these find­ings, in­ves­ti­ga­tors crafted a risk pro­file, list­ing traits that were cor­re­lated with ma­ter­nal death.

The anal­y­sis showed that some risk fac­tors in­cluded lack of ed­u­ca­tion, lack of health in­sur­ance, hy­per­ten­sion, smok­ing while preg­nant and di­a­betes. The task force also found in its 2016 re­port that black women are dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fected by preg­nancy-re­lated causes of death.

While these risk fac­tors can help health care providers look for po­ten­tial preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions, Rug­giero warned against mak­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tions care­lessly. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors chose to look at the years from 2012 to 2015 for enough data to come up with mean­ing­ful in­ter­pre­ta­tions, she said, but the num­bers the task force is work­ing with are still small.

“One ma­ter­nal death is one too many,” Rug­giero said. “[But] when you get those low types of num­bers, it’s hard to de­ter­mine whether those num­bers were re­ally due to what­ever you were ex­am­in­ing or whether it was due to chance.”

Other states have al­ready adopted pre­ven­tive mea­sures to de­crease ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity rates. Though Texas has mod­eled some of its prac­tices against a na- tion­wide ini­tia­tive for ma­ter­nal health, it’s best to shape prac­tices based off state-spe­cific data, said DSHS com­mis­sioner John Heller­st­edt.

Adri­ana Kohler, se­nior health pol­icy analyst at Tex­ans Care for Chil­dren, said in a news re­lease that she’s happy to see the task force con­tin­u­ing its work.

“As the task force de­vel­ops rec­om­men­da­tions, we will need state lead­ers to show that same level of pas­sion for im­ple­ment­ing strate­gies to save the lives of Texas moms,” Kohler said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.