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Trends in Pregnancy and Childbirth Complications in the U.S. 2014-2018

An analysis of Blue Cross Blue Shield data reveals an increasing number of women are experiencing pregnancy complications and childbirth complications.

A new report on maternal health – Trends in Pregnancy and Childbirth Complications in the U.S. – examines 1.8 million pregnancies between 2014 and 2018 among commercially insured women ages 18-44. While the overall pregnancy rate has declined by 2% in this population since 2014, it varies considerably by age. The rate for women ages 18-24 declined by 12% while the rate for women ages 35-44 increased by 9%. While the average age of pregnancy increased over the study period from 30.6 to 31, childbirth complications did not increase with age.

The report found the number of women experiencing both pregnancy complications and childbirth complications increased 31.5%. In addition to having adverse health consequences, pregnancy complications and childbirth complications drive increased healthcare costs. Pregnancy complications increase the average cost of a vaginal delivery by 16% and a c-section delivery by 18%, while childbirth complications increase the average cost of these deliveries by 63% and 52% respectively.

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