Each year, roughly 700 women in the U.S. die during pregnancy, childbirth, or after giving birth — and the majority of those deaths are preventable, according to a new analysis.

Heart disease and stroke were the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths each year from 2011 to 2017, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. The report also found that black women and American Indian and Alaska Native women were far more likely than white women to die of pregnancy-related problems.

“While maternal deaths are relatively rare, every death is tragic and it often represents a web of missed opportunities,” said Dr. Nicole Davis, an epidemiologist at the CDC and a co-author of the new report.

 

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