Responding to Georgia’s Worsening Maternal Mortality Rate

The maternal mortality statistics recently released by the Georgia Department of Public Health were alarming and unacceptable. 

  • Between 2018 and 2020, pregnancy-related deaths increased by 20% from the previous three-year period, with 30.2 deaths for every 100,000 live births.  
  • 89% of these deaths were preventable.  
  • Black women were twice as likely as white women to die from pregnancy-related causes. 

Georgia’s maternal mortality rate, and its particular toll on Black families, has been steadily worsening. This is an issue of concern for all who care about the well-being of women, families, and children. It’s an advocacy priority for GEEARS, and we, along with our partners, fought to secure the extension of Pregnancy Medicaid coverage, which now lasts 12 months postpartum.  

This most recent news merits a demand for more urgent action on behalf of pregnant people, mothers, and Black families in Georgia.  

GEEARS recommends that Georgia policymakers: 

  • Include Black women when making policy decisions about pregnancy and post-partum care. 
  • Expand access to Medicaid for women before a pregnancy occurs. 
  • Continue to expand access to evidence-based home visiting programs for expecting families and those in their first years of parenthood.  
  • Increase reimbursement rates for OB-GYN and primary care services to increase the number of these providers, particularly in geographic areas of need. 
  • Increase access to midwives and doulas, who have been shown to reduce rates of maternal mortality. 
  • Continue to strengthen Georgia’s mental health system to provide better treatment of perinatal mental health disorders.