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Maternal Mortality In The U.S. Is On The Rise

Diane Luke
Senior Editor, TipsHire

Maternal mortality during pregnancy has dropped almost by 50% over the last 27 years, according to a report created by the United Nations. Lately, around 300,000 women die annually from complications occurring during pregnancy or within six weeks after childbirth, compared to 532,000 women who have died in 1990 by pregnancy complications or labor complications. However, the situation is not so good in every country, and as an example, the maternal mortality in the US is on the rise.

World Health Organization officials said that the results showed a huge breakthrough. However, only nine countries have reached the goals set by the UN. A report from the end of 2015 showed that maternal mortality will decrease to at least 44% in future. Eastern Asian countries have recorded the best numbers in maternal mortality, which fell from about 95% of the early ’90s to 27%.

UN aims to reduce the global ratio to less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 thousand births by the year of 2030.

The causes of maternal mortality

Maternal mortality means the death of a woman during pregnancy, labor, or within a period of 42 days after childbirth, by any cause determined or aggravated by pregnancy or labor, but neither accidental nor coincidental.

Maternal mortality is split into two categories:

1. Deaths by direct obstetric causes. These causes are those resulting from obstetric complications (pregnancy, birth, confinement), interventions, omissions, incorrect treatment, or a chain of events resulting from any of the above factors. Direct obstetric causes of death are:

  • abortion
  • the risk of obstetrical complications during pregnancy
  • complications of labor and delivery
  • complications of the confinement period

2. Deaths by indirect obstetric causes. These causes are those resulting from a preexisting disease or disorder that occur during pregnancy without and which was aggravated by the physiologic effects of pregnancy and labor.

Maternal mortality is a global problem

Maternal mortality is not only a problem of each country in part but a global problem because it affects mothers from every corner of the world. Of course, in low-developed countries, such as Central African countries, Eastern European countries (Moldavia, Ukraine, and so forth), Arabian countries, or Eastern Asian countries, the maternal mortality rate, alongside with the infantile mortality rate, is higher than in well-developed countries.

This difference comes from the simple fact that in the low-developed countries the medical resources are very low, people are poor or very poor, and the mentality of the people is more traditional. Many pregnant women from these low-developed countries are choosing to give birth at home assisted only by a midwife, so without a professional assistance during childbirth or a professional care after childbirth. Thus, the risks for maternal or infantile mortality increase.

Paradoxically, the rate of maternal mortality is on the rise lately in some well-developed countries, as well. For example, the maternal mortality in the US is on the rise. So, if not the poverty, the mentality or the lack of professional assistance are in question in this particular cases, then why the maternal mortality is on the rise in some well-developed countries like the USA?

The maternal mortality in the US is on the rise

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has released in 2016 some very disturbing data which showed that the maternal mortality has increased by almost 30% since the year of 2000, and it will keep rising if no countermeasures will be taken. In the US, 4 million women are giving birth each year, and out of these 4 million, 1,200 women are dying from pregnancy or labor complications.

The main reason the maternal mortality in the US is on the rise is the higher incidence of medical conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disorders, obesity, or diabetes, which may imply serious complications during pregnancy or during labor. Also, women tend to put their careers in the first place and wait longer to have babies, and having babies at advanced ages could increase the incidence of complications during pregnancy or labor.

Another reason the maternal mortality in the US is on the rise is that more women opt for C-section instead of giving a natural birth, this elevating the risk for hemorrhages. The more C-sections a woman has, the higher is the risk of developing life-threatening complications during the intervention.

Also, more and more women tend to ignore the professional care during pregnancy and are not visiting their gynecologist or obstetrician for regular controls, thus could be leading to complications. Specialists recommend you to go to the doctor for a full set of analysis, before trying to get pregnant, so you’ll be aware of any health issue you might have, and once you get pregnant visit your gynecologist or obstetrician every month, and even 2 months after childbirth.

After giving birth, you’re not totally out of any danger. As soon as you are OK for some physical effort, opt for on-foot walks, or mild exercises, thus preventing yourself from forming a blood clot. A blood clot may obstruct and artery or other blood vessel or may cause more severe complications like heart attack or brain attack, which can be lethal. Symptoms of having a blood clot could be dizziness, swellings, sight impairment, high blood pressure, or pains that do not go away with usual pain killers.

In conclusion, if you’re a healthy woman from a low-developed country, then your risk of dying during labor is higher since you’re not easily getting professional assistance and care during childbirth and after, and you’re more at risk of infections or other lethal complications.

If you’re a woman from a well-developed country, then your lifestyle and health problems are the only risk factors that may be lethal during pregnancy and childbirth. Since well-developed countries, like the US, are facing increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases, maternal mortality is on the rise, too.

Because of the maternal mortality in the US is on the rise, authorities of the US medical system are working for finding a way to eliminate or properly care the causes (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases), in order to diminish the effects, among which is also found the maternal mortality.

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