Maternal Deaths Continue to Be on the Upswing in the US
Thu, October 21, 2021

Maternal Deaths Continue to Be on the Upswing in the US

Maternal death rates have significantly decreased in most parts of the world. However, new findings showed that the number of cases of this distressing condition is actually rising in the United States / Photo by: 9nong via 123RF

 

Maternal death rates have significantly decreased in most parts of the world. However, new findings showed that the number of cases of this distressing condition is actually rising in the United States. It was also discovered that it is prevalent among women of color. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mentioned that 700 American women lose their lives each year because of pregnancy or childbirth complications.

NBC News, a media corporation, reported that different groups are investigating the ongoing and alarming development. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine made a study based on documented findings in New York in the last two decades. The researchers discovered that the maternal death rate has not declined in the state despite concerted efforts. 

Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, an obstetrician-gynecologist affiliated with NYU Langone Hospitals, explained in an interview that their study found out that there are hospitals that have initiated programs to curb maternal mortality. Shirazian also mentioned that several interventions are being done in the community, but that these organizations are not being linked up. “They’re not offering us the maximum benefits in terms of reduction in New York... maternal mortality rates have not decreased,” she added. 

Her group’s findings are backed up by the fact that the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in all developed countries, America’s Health Ranking, an online resource for health information statistics, published. 


Racial Disparity

According to the CDC’s Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, maternal deaths in the US have increased dramatically since 1987. Between that year and 2015, the country’s maternal mortality rate has doubled up, and the disparity in these cases across race/ethnicity is something that has alarmed health authorities. 

From 2011 to 2016, pregnancy-related mortality ratios showed that 42.4 deaths per 100,000 live births happened among black non-Hispanic women. American India/Alaskan native women had 30.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. On the other hand, it was noted that 13 deaths happened per 100,000 live births for white non-Hispanic women and 11.3 deaths per 100,000 live births for Hispanic women. 

Age Concerns

Another study was conducted by researchers from the Maryland Population Research Center, which pointed out how women aged 40 years and older had the highest maternal mortality rates. The study noted that the mortality rate for women within this age group posted 141.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008 to 2009. This was significantly higher than the rate of 14.1 maternal deaths for women aged 25 to 29 years old. 

During the years 2013 and 2014, the mortality rate among mothers belonging to the 40 years or older age group increased by 90% when it reached 269.8 maternal deaths. Meanwhile, the mortality rate among 25- to 29-year-old mothers was reported to have a rate of 14.7, which means it declined slightly compared to the group composed of women younger than 25 years old. 

Addressing the Problem

Now that the numbers show the distressing fact that a lot of women are at real risk when they give birth, it has become more imperative to get to the root of this situation. In a web article published by the World Health Organization, it was said that underprivileged women in remote areas are the least likely to receive enough healthcare even during pregnancy and actual childbirth.

This problem is true for regions with low numbers of health professionals in the community. According to the latest available data gathered, it was pointed out that in most high-income and upper-middle-income countries, more than 90% of all births were successful when there is a trained midwife, doctor, or nurse present. 

According to the latest available data gathered, it was pointed out that in most high-income and upper-middle-income countries, more than 90% of all births were successful when there is a trained midwife, doctor, or nurse present / Photo by: Tatyana Tomsickova via 123RF

 

What Should We Do?

Everyone has a role to play in improving maternal health. However, to destroy the barriers that limit access to quality health services, these roles should be identified and addressed first. Concerned authorities, non-government organizations, and even families should know that maternal deaths are preventable if everyone does their part to help women get access to high-quality healthcare, especially during and after pregnancy. 

It is important to address the issue of how a lot of poor countries lack skilled health professionals as well as the available treatment and time management that can make a huge difference between life and death for the mother and her child.

Additionally, the WHO also pointed out that to prevent maternal deaths, it is also vital to avoid unwanted pregnancies. This can be achieved by providing access to comprehensive education about planned parenthood, which should include lessons about contraception, safe abortion, and quality post-abortion care.

Pregnancy is a sensitive and delicate event in the life of a woman and has a profound effect on the family. For this reason, everyone should help in the preparation for the birth of the child as a lot of things can happen that can make things complicated or even fatal. However, maternal death can be prevented if there is adequate help from the government and other affiliated organizations that are responsible for the health of the citizens. 

Everyone has a role to play in improving maternal health. However, to destroy the barriers that limit access to quality health services, these roles should be identified and addressed first / Photo by: twinsterphoto via 123RF