Study Finds Homicide is the Leading Cause of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in the United States

by Shine My Crown Staff
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Pregnant women in the United States are more likely to die by homicide than of pregnancy-related causes, according to a study published last month in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Not only are pregnant women more likely to be killed by a domestic partner, but Black women and women and girls under the age of 25 were most at risk.

The study was penned by researchers at Tulane University. They found that pregnant women or those in the postpartum period are twice as likely to die by homicide than any other leading cause of maternal mortality.

For some women, settling down and choosing motherhood is a lifelong goal. However, victims of domestic violence often find that the most violent behavior does not start until a significant life change, i.e., marriage, cohabiting or pregnancy.

Sadly, becoming pregnant increases the risk of death by homicide. Women who are pregnant or had their pregnancy end in the past year are killed at a rate 16% higher than are women who are not pregnant.

This past week, police announced they were searching for Andreae Lloyd, a pregnant home health aide worker who was heated and abducted from her place of work.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first published national maternal mortality rates for the first time since 2007. However, the CDC does not classify homicide, accidents or suicides as causes of ‘maternal mortality.’

The National Violent Death Reporting System links to police, autopsy and other reports to determine whether a homicide was an incident of intimate partner violence. After accessing NVDRS’ data, reproductive epidemiologist Maeve Wallace at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and her co-authors found that two-thirds of them occurred at home and the majority involved a firearm.

“Our overall main finding was that homicide is more common among pregnant postpartum women, compared to nonpregnant, non-postpartum women,” Wallace said. “And that’s particularly true for Black women, when we stratify by race, and for young women.”

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