United States maternal death rate the same as Belarus

Filed under: In The News, That's Entertainment

Lying in writhing pain on a sterile table, I remember I didn't care if I died. I remember screwing my eyes shut, thinking fiercely to hold that thought, because it was an anomaly. The strength of the pain at that moment, was higher than my desire to live. I knew it was probably the only time in my life I'd feel that way.

But the pain went away, thank god, with the help of breathing and contraction breaks and finally, an epidural. And now I've forgotten it completely, and am so glad I didn't die during childbirth. But there are still way, way too many women who do.

I don't know anyone -- friend or acquaintance or friend of a friend - who has died in childbirth. According to new research, though, 1 in 4800 US women die from childbirth or complications thereof. That's a startling contrast to the country with the lowest maternal death rate in the world, Ireland, where 1 in 47,600 women will die of childbirth related complications.

Reasons cited for the relatively high American maternal death rate include blood clots, eclampsia and pre-eclampsia, hemorrhage, and complications of medical conditions.

The US rates in around the same ranking as Belarus, which further surprised me. Not as surprising (but completely perplexing) -- the death rate among American black woman was almost four times as high as that of white women.


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