About 700 women die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth every year, but the CDC found that 60 percent of these deaths could have been prevented.
Rising Maternal Mortality Rate In The US
The public health agency recently released a report on pregnancy-related deaths in the country. While maternal mortality has become rare occurrences in developed countries, in the United States, the number of deaths during pregnancy and childbirth has been steadily rising from decades.
The number of women who passed away from complications during pregnancy and childbirth in the United States is higher than in Canada and in Britain.
More Than Half Of Pregnancy-Related Deaths Are Preventable
However, what's heartbreaking about the maternal mortality rate in the country is the revelation that more than half of them are preventable.
The CDC analyzed data on pregnancy-related death from 2011-2015. The public health agency revealed that, over the five-year period, 3,400 women died due to pregnancy-related complications, which was described as a chain of events triggered by pregnancy or an underlying condition exacerbated by pregnancy.
The report also revealed that, overall, heart disease and stroke were the leading causes of death. During delivery, severe bleeding and amniotic fluid embolism accounted for most deaths. In the week following delivery, the report listed high blood pressure, severe bleeding, and infections as the most common cause of death. One week to one year after the delivery, cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscle) caused the most number of deaths.
The CDC also noticed a significant racial disparity in maternal mortality. Black and Native American mothers are three times more likely to pass away from pregnancy-related complications compared to white women.
Taking Action Against Pregnancy-Related Deaths
The public health agency is calling on health care providers to communicate the risks and warning signs of pregnancy-related complications to patients. They also suggested that hospitals and health systems train their personnel to better respond and care for mothers during emergencies.
The report also urged states to take actions by improving access to housing and transportation as well as create policies that can ensure that a high-risk woman will have access to hospitals with special equipment and health care personnel.
"Our new analysis underscores the need for access to quality services, risk awareness, and early diagnosis, but it also highlights opportunities for preventing future pregnancy-related deaths," stated Wanda Barfield, the director of the reproductive division of CDC.