Childbirth deaths in the U.S. highest in decades

Filed under: Just For Moms, Your Pregnancy

Compared to 90 years ago, death from childbirth is pretty rare. Back then, nearly one in every 100 births in the U.S. resulted in the death of the mother. But by 2004, those numbers were drastically changed, with only 13 deaths per 100,000 live births. But those 13 deaths were one more than we saw in 2003 - and 2003 was the first year the death rate rose above 10 since 1977.

In other words, the death rate from childbirth is rising and experts are debating the reasons. One reason could be the fact that more women are having children later in life, resulting in higher-risk pregnancies. Some experts point to maternal obesity, which often results in diabetes and associated complications. Plus, an obese woman might have a larger baby, making vaginal delivery difficult. Which brings us to Caesarean sections. Currently, 29 percent of all births are via C-section - a number health professional say is far higher than it should be. Women who have had multiple C-sections are at a higher risk of excessive bleeding, which a New York study found to be the leading cause of maternal death.

Some say that the higher numbers are likely due to a combination of all of the above as well as a change in how deaths are reported in some states, resulting in more of them being linked to childbirth.

The fact that the rate of death from childbirth is rising surprises and alarms me. And while 13 may not seem like a big number, it is the biggest number in the world to a family who has lost a mother.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.