The number of women who die during childbirth or soon after pregnancy is dramatically increasing in the United States.
When global maternal death rates are decreasing, the rise in the US is considered to be a major cause of concern.
Maternal death rate is measured by considering the death of women within 42 days due to labor complications, problems during childbirth or termination of pregnancy. Pregnancy complications are the leading cause of death among adult women. It is calculated by finding out the number of deaths per 100,000 live births. Live birth refers to babies born alive from mother during delivery.
According to a study by Maryland University, maternal death rate in the US has increased from 19 per 100,000 in 2000 to 24 per 100,000 in 2014. The rate rose by 27 percent between the years.
Among the US countries, Texas has the worst mortality rate with more than 600 women dying due to pregnancy-related complications in 2010-2014. California had the least maternal death rate.
The study found that African-American women had the greatest risk of maternal death, accounting for 28% of the maternal deaths in the United States.
Causes for Maternal Death
The most common reasons for maternal death are,
- Postpartum hemorrhage; excessive blood loss after delivery
- Gestational diabetes; high blood sugar levels during pregnancy
- Cardiac arrest; blockage in blood vessels of the heart
- Pre-eclampsia or eclampsia; seizures during pregnancy
- Psychiatric disorders, depression, anxiety during or after pregnancy
- Suicide; killing one-self post-delivery
- Late pregnancies; giving birth after 30-35 years of age
- Inadequate healthcare facilities
- Lack of proper maternal care during labor
World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that maternal deaths can be prevented by,
- Providing adequate healthcare facilities
- Proper monitoring of pregnant women during labor
- Allowing a trustworthy and elderly relative to accompany the patient during labor
- Following up the patient post-delivery
- Providing quality medical professionals to take care of pregnancy-complications such as postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum depression, cardiac arrest, breathing difficulties, etc.
Experts from the Maryland University also called for changes in the healthcare provisions to women in the United States. They emphasized the need to calculate maternal death rate accurately and reporting it for creating awareness among people.