What does the United States have in common with countries such as Afghanistan, Belize and El Salvador?
All have rising maternal mortality rates. In fact, the United States was one of only eight countries in the world to see an increase in pregnancy related deaths between 2003 and 2013, USA Today reported.
The maternal death rate in the United States far exceeds that of other developed countries, the newspaper reported. The story is based on research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.
The research found that 18.5 mothers died for every 100,000 births, the Washington Post reported, which is double the mortality rate in Canada and triple the rate in the United Kingdom.
In 1987, the mortality rate was 7.2 per 100,000 U.S. births. UPI reported that the mortality rate has been rising steadily – 12.4 in 1990, 17.6 in 2003 and reaching 18.5 last year.
One of the study's authors, Nicholas Kassebaum told USA Today that the increase might have been caused by "poorer access to essential health care" in the U.S. during the time period compared to other developed countries.