Giving Birth Is About to Get Much Safer
Most of the time, giving birth ends with a healthy mother and baby.
But, the reality remains that every year in the United States between 700 and 900 mothers die from pregnancy-related causes and another 50,000 suffer severe or life-threatening complications. Reasons mothers die in childbirth vary widely, from excessive bleeding to uncontrolled high blood pressure to anesthesia complications to embolisms. This rate of death for mothers during childbirth is the highest in the developed world and has been concerning for both expectant mothers and maternal health advocates for years. The CDC estimates that up to 60% of these deaths are preventable.
Earlier in 2018 an in-depth report entitled “Deadly Deliveries” and another entitled “Lost Mothers” exposed that many of these complications and deaths are preventable and some occur because hospitals skip practices known to improve outcomes and that most states fail to collect data on maternal deaths and study their cause. The facts are hard to ignore and the US Congress undertook a bipartisan effort to protect mothers and make giving birth safer. The bill was signed into law in late December of 2018 ensuring the health and safety of more mothers in the new year.
The result is the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018 which requires states to review every pregnancy-related death and develop recommendations to prevent future deaths. The bill also provides $12 million a year for the next five years for states to establish Maternal Mortality Review Committees to collect and analyze this data.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called this legislation a “crucial step to reversing our country’s rising maternal mortality rate. No more pregnant and postpartum women should die from preventable causes.”
This law is a welcome and much-needed step towards making pregnancy and childbirth safer for all mothers. What other steps would you like to see taken to address the issue of maternal mortality rates?