(08/17/10) THE BRONX - The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says the Bronx has the highest maternal mortality rate in the city. According to health officials, 34 of every 100,000 births resulted in maternal death in the Bronx from 2001-2005, with the hardest-hit area being the South Bronx.

Dr. Wendy Wilcox, chairperson for Obstetrics and Gynecology at North Central Bronx Hospital, attributes the deaths to poor self-care on the part of pregnant women. She says obesity and smoking are also contributing factors.

Pregnancy services are available for free to pregnant women at Bronx Central and Jacobi hospitals.