The United States suffers from a much higher childbirth mortality rate than the rest of the developed world, which is hugely alarming. There are a number of reasons for this, with many being preventable. Here are five of the biggest reasons why mothers die in childbirth in America and what can be done about it.
Health Issues of the Mother
The US has high rates of health conditions that can cause complications during pregnancy and birth. The most common culprits are obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, which can be managed with living a healthier lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and exercise. As women become mothers later in life, increased age also results in more complications which can turn deadly.
Lack of Affordability for Services
It is no secret that the cost of healthcare is astronomically high in the United States, and childbirth care can be extremely expensive even for people who have insurance. Uninsured mothers face even higher barriers when it comes to being able to afford care. When people cannot afford quality care or are faced with a complex pregnancy, they may opt to cut corners or refuse care which could prove fatal. Improving the healthcare system and decreasing costs is paramount.
Overtaxed Healthcare Personnel
There are significant shortages of healthcare professionals which can result in workers being overtaxed. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, this can lead to higher rates of malpractice and mortality of new mothers. Medical schools and hospitals alike need to tackle this problem by teaching the importance of rest and maintaining adequate staff to ensure this does not occur. A personal injury attorney is a good resource to determine whether an incident constituted malpractice.
Untreated Postpartum Depression
Physical problems are not the only cause of death after giving birth. Postpartum depression is a real problem that many women fall victim to and don’t receive help for. As a result, untreated postpartum depression can result in suicide. Women must push past the stigmas surrounding mental health and get help before it is too late.
Dwindling Access to Care
Rural hospitals in particular are closing at fast rates, which leave expectant mothers with fewer options when it comes to maternity care. Race also plays a factor, with fewer quality maternity wards often located in areas predominantly populated by African-Americans. This often leaves women stuck with few options and poorer prospects.
The high childbirth mortality rate in the United States is tragic and alarming. In many cases deaths are due to preventable causes. Patients must advocate for themselves to ensure they receive the care they deserve.