(AP)- Pregnancy-related deaths for U.S. mothers climbed higher in the pandemic’s first year. Government data released Wednesday show a decades-long trend that continued to disproportionately affect Black people. Overall, there were almost 24 deaths per 100,000 births in 2020. That compares with 20 per 100,000 the previous year. The numbers reflect mothers dying during pregnancy, childbirth or the year after. It is unclear what role COVID-19 might have played. But the virus led many people to put off medical care and stressed the health-care system, which could increase risks for pregnant people.
Photo: FILE – In this May 7, 2020 file photo, a pregnant woman wearing a face mask and gloves holds her belly as she waits in line for groceries at St. Mary’s Church in Waltham, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, file)