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Pregnant woman The U.S. system could do more to support women and children by expanding health insurance, providing more comprehensive care, investing in more midwifery services, and integrating telehealth. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Complications linked to childbirth cost the U.S. an estimated $32 billion a year—and the estimate is probably low, due to a lack of data. This finding is part of a new report from Mathematica and the Commonwealth Fund highlighting the growing problem of maternal morbidity—health conditions or issues that follow childbirth.

“Maternal morbidity encompasses physical and psychological conditions resulting from, or aggravated by, pregnancy. These conditions do not necessarily lead to death, but they can have a negative impact on quality of life that lasts for months, even years,” the report said. For the report, the researchers estimated medical costs associated with maternal morbidity, including treatment and hospitalizations, as well as nonmedical costs, which included loss of economic productivity and increased use of social services.

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