The number of mothers who die during or because of childbirth in the United States have increased significantly since 2003, a new study bared, and it is one of the only eight countries in the world that experienced such.
Joining U.S. in the eight countries that showed poor results are Afghanistan and countries in Africa and Central America.
This is what a team of researchers of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found out in their recent study [pdf] published in The Lancet.
Data showed that U.S. is veering away from the general trend of high-income countries in terms of drop in maternal deaths. In fact, it even lagged behind other developed countries in terms of maternal mortality rate, with a 1.7 percent increase in deaths, compared to the 3.1 percent drop recorded in developed countries over the last two decades.
In other nations such as Saudi Arabia, only seven mothers succumb to death for every 100,000 live births recorded in 2013. In Canada, mortality rate averages to 8.2. The rate in the U.S. has however doubled, with a whopping average 18.5 recorded in the past year, and even more than triple for United Kingdom's 6.1.
The country now ranks 60th among the 180 countries that have the worst record in maternal mortality, a drastic fall from the 22nd place it held during the 1990s.
"For American women, high-risk pregnancies and the number of women with inadequate access to preventive and maternal health care are just two potential causes of this trend," said IHME assistant professor Dr. Nicholas Kassebaum, who is also the author of the study. "The good news is that most maternal deaths are preventable, and we can do better."
Though the researchers focused on statistical data in measuring maternal mortality, they also allotted "a range of possible explanations for the disparities between the U.S. and other countries." These disparities include lack of access to prenatal care and other health services, increased caesarian section deliveries, and pregnancies worsened by obesity, diabetes, and other conditions.
According to the World Health Organization, mothers die due to life-threatening complications following pregnancy and childbirth. While most of these complications are incurred before having a child, they are worsened by the pregnancy itself.
Most mothers would experience severe bleeding and acquire infections after childbirth or, in some cases, after an unsanitary abortion procedure. During pregnancy, women may suffer from high blood pressure which could be a sign of pre-eclampsia attacks, or the severe convulsions that may lead to a state of coma.