RGH researcher’s study looks at maternal mortality rates of black and white women

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A researcher at Rochester General Hospital just published a study that some believe will help save the lives of pregnant women and their babies.

The rate of maternal mortality is on the rise in America, and black women are three times more likely to die than white women, so researchers at Rochester General and Johns Hopkins studied the data of 4 million women.

RGH and John Hopkins study by Evangelos Bourtis on Scribd

The study found that in white women, the rate of maternal mortality fell among higher economic groups, but high-income black women were just as likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth as their low-income counterparts.

Earlier, News10NBC Anchor Deanna Dewberry chatted with Dr. Salman Zahid at RGH about the reasons why.

Zahid: "Previous studies have shown that minority ethnicities or racial groups, like black women, if they belong to a high-income group that pre-disposes them to being exposed to more structural racism, or underlying biases."

Dewberry: "And so in turn, those high-income black women were more stressed? Leading to more heart disease? Is that what you’re saying?"

Zahid: "That has been shown that highly affluent black women, because of the emotional stress that they might go through that can translate to medically having more cardiac arrhythmias and abnormal heart rhythms."

Zahid presented his findings to the American College of Cardiology on Sunday.

Another study was also presented that showed that more aggressive treatment of high blood pressure during pregnancy does not harm the baby.

Zahid said these two studies could greatly improve the way doctors treat cardiovascular disease in pregnancy and save the lives of women and their babies across the country.