Obesity, C-Sections May Be Behind Rising Maternal Mortality Rate

Most people probably think of the United States as having one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Indeed, here in Houston and throughout the state of Texas and beyond, expecting mothers often receive top-notch medical care. It is rare that pregnancy-related injuries occur in the medical setting, but when they do, families can find themselves in devastating situations.

Interestingly, recent media reports indicate that the maternal mortality rate in the United States appears to be on the rise. The U.S. is one of just eight nations where the rate is increasing rather than decreasing or staying the same. The figures are startling: in 1987, there were just over seven maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States. The number of maternal fatalities more than doubled between 1987 and 2011, when there were nearly 18 deaths per 100,000 U.S. live births. These numbers are according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What could be behind this rise in the number of mothers dying as a consequence of childbirth and pregnancy? A researcher for the CDC notes that several factors could be at play, including more older women giving birth, a huge rise in the number of C-sections performed in the U.S., lack of access to maternal care and better reporting methods. In addition, complications due to obesity, such as hypertension and diabetes, can also put mothers at risk.

Pregnancy-related injury, including fatal injury, can be the result of delivery room negligence as it pertains to the above factors. A botched C-section can endanger a woman's life, while negligent monitoring of diabetes or high blood pressure can put both mother and baby in danger. Families who have been affected by maternal death in the medical setting can find a trusted resource in a Houston wrongful death attorney.

Source: Fox 8, "Why is the maternal mortality rate going up in the United States?," Kelly Wallace, Dec. 2, 2015

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