Illinois gets federal grant to improve maternal health

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Illinois is getting $450,000 in federal funds to improve maternal health and reduce the number of women and babies who die during or shortly after pregnancy.

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth say the Illinois Department of Public Health will use the funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review maternal deaths and find opportunities for prevention.

The U.S. maternal and infant mortality rate has been rising, especially for women and babies of color. 

A state review found African-American women in Illinois are six times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. About 72% of Illinois' pregnancy-related deaths were preventable.  

Durbin says "no nation as rich and advanced as the United States" should have moms and infants dying at rates the U.S. is seeing.