Pregnancy-related deaths up in US, down in other developed countries

World Today

Childbirth marks the beginning of a life. But for some women, it leads to the end of theirs.

Hundreds of American women die each year from pregnancy or delivery-related complications. The U.S. has a higher maternal mortality rate than other developed countries.

CGTN’s Karina Huber explains why most of these deaths are preventable.

It’s a shocking statistic – some 700 to 900 American women die each year during pregnancy or from delivery-related complications. Another 65,000 women almost die during childbirth – making America’s maternal mortality rate the highest among industrialized nations.

Severe preeclampsia is a condition caused by pregnancy that accounts for roughly seven percent of maternal deaths in the U.S.

American women are three times more likely than Canadians – and six times more likely than Scandinavians – to die during the ‘maternal period.’ That’s the period that begins with pregnancy and ends a year after giving birth.

Maternal mortality is rising in the U.S., while it’s falling in most industrialized countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half these deaths are preventable. Research suggests that because babies are still far more likely to die in childbirth than mothers, the focus from a policy and resource perspective is on saving babies – not mothers. When something goes wrong with mom, many healthcare providers aren’t prepared to handle it.