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A recent Brazilian study yielded alarming data about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal health. In 2020, the rate of maternal mortality was 40% higher than the average of the previous years. In 2021, there was a surge in the number of cases, and COVID-19 was responsible for 60% of maternal deaths that year.

These data suggest that the pandemic has disproportionately affected pregnant women and postpartum women, according to the investigators. The maternal mortality rate observed in 2021 significantly exceeded the global target of the Sustainable Development Goals for this indicator (70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births), reaching a level of approximately 110 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. This level was similar to the levels that Brazil recorded in the 1980s.

Another Brazilian study showed that the country's northern and northeastern regions were most affected by excess maternal mortality in 2020. In 2021, the impact was greater in the midwestern and southern regions. The worst scenario occurred between March and June 2021 nationwide, with an excess of 413% in the mortality of mothers between ages 35 and 49 years in the southern region. Head over to Medscape to read the full story.