Childbirth should be the the happiest day of your life. In the United States, it is increasingly becoming one of the most tragic. New data published by the CDC has found that “for more than 4 out of 5 women who died during pregnancy, during delivery, or up to a year postpartum–more than 84%–death could have been avoided ‘with reasonable changes’ by health care providers, the community, the patient, or others.” The information was obtained by evaluating over 1,000 pregnancy-related deaths between the years 2017 to 2019. Between April and December 2020, researches found a mortality rate of 25 moms for every 100,000 live births. This number increased from 19 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births only 2 years prior. This data begs the question: Why is the number of maternal deaths rising in the United States, when it is decreasing everywhere else in the world? In fact, maternal mortality rates in the US are many times higher than the rates in other wealthy countries.
There are many potential explanations for these results. One explanation is that hospitals are not properly training their nurses and doctors to recognize serious risks to the mom during and after birth. For example, postpartum hemorrhage is a catastrophic event that, if not timely diagnosed and treated, will result in death. Another potential explanation is that hospitals refuse to spend the appropriate funds to properly staff the OB department. Rather than hiring more doctors, hospitals inappropriately rely on CRNAs, NPs, and PAs who are significantly less qualified.
Death during or after childbirth is something that can be avoided if the healthcare providers act appropriately. Allowing maternal death rates to continue increasing is unacceptable.