Women having babies in the United States are dying more often than any other developed country. What’s causing these deaths, and what’s being done to stop it? WATCH a special report Monday, July 9, beginning at 5 p.m. on News Center 7.
Why are American women dying more often than women in other developed countries? American women are more than three times as likely as Canadian women to die in the maternal period (defined by the Centers for Disease Control as the start of pregnancy to one year after delivery or termination), six times as likely to die as Scandinavians, according to an investigation by NPR and Propublica.
According to the CDC, 700 women die in the United States every year from issues related to pregnancy. For white women, the death rate is 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births. The rate for black women is much higher — 43.5 deaths per 100,000 live births. Here are three things you need to know about American women and maternal mortality:
1. WHY ARE WOMEN DYING?
Women can die as a result of complications during or after pregnancy and childbirth. Major complications include: severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure, complications from delivery and unsafe abortions, accoridng to the World Health Organizations. Chronic medial conditions like cardiovascular issues and diabetes as well as mental health issues and lack of care can attribute to complications with childbirth, accoridng to Dr. David McKenna of Miami Valley Hospital.
2. HOW MANY WOMEN DIE FROM PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH-RELATED ISSUES IN THE U.S.?
Every year in the U.S., 700 to 900 women die from pregnancy and childbirth complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3. WHAT ARE OTHER COUNTRIES DOING TO LOWER RATES?
“We also don’t have national protocols for conditions that are most likely to kill women in the peripartum period — the period preceding and following childbirth — such as postpartum hemorrhage. This is very different from, for example, the U.K., where there is a specific, publicly available protocol used throughout the country for this complication. And the quality of care a woman receives in the U.S. can vary a lot depending on the clinic or hospital where she happens to go. So that probably contributes as well,” said Dr. Felicia Lester, University of California-Berkeley.
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