Maternal and Child Health Trends

While the United States has the highest per capita spending on health care in the world, this has not led to optimal outcomes. The maternity care sector, in particular, has many trends that are heading in the wrong direction.

  • U.S. infant mortality rate is worse than over thirty other industrial nations
  • U.S. maternal mortality rate has not improved since 1982 and is steadily creeping upward
  • Rates of premature and low birth weight infants are exceedingly high
  • Declining rates of normal physiologic childbirth are alarmingly common
  • Cesarean section is the number one surgery performed in the United States, 1 in every 3 pregnant women will undergo surgical birth 
  • Health status and perinatal outcomes for women and infants of color are far worse than for their White counterparts
  • Hospital costs are without a doubt the largest sector of health care costs
  • Hospital costs for mother-baby care are considerable and are the highest of all hospital “profit centers”