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Preventing Maternal Deaths In America

Preventing Maternal Deaths In America

Congress recently passed the "Preventing Maternal Deaths Act". This bill was passed to support States in their work to save and sustain the health of mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the postpartum period, to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes for pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated deaths, to identify solutions to improve healthcare quality and health outcomes for mothers, and for other purposes. 

Every year in this country, 700 - 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, and some 65,000 suffer severe complications. In recent years, as high rates of maternal mortality in the U.S. have alarmed researchers, one statistic has been especially concerning. According to the CDC, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health. Why are black women more at risk than any other race? Statistics show that a black woman who is educated, financially secure with the best of insurance can still die on the delivery table due to the racial disparities in our health system. There is a stigma surrounding black women when they are in pain.  Serena Williams, professional tennis player had a history of blood clots and knew right away that she was experiencing the same symptoms during childbirth. She made the nurse aware and was insistent. If she did not advocate for herself she could have died. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 60 percent of maternal deaths in this country are preventable. And, according to the World Health Organization, we are the ONLY industrialized nation in the world where maternal deaths are rising, not falling. Some hospitals are not equipped to handle complications during delivery. Hypertension and extreme blood loss are the main culprits of death during delivery and after. I was diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia two weeks after I gave birth. I had no clue what my body was going through at the time or that I was having a seizure. My entire pregnancy my blood pressure was normal and I showed no signs of preeclampsia. I began to experience severe migraines and collapsed on my living room floor. I could have died that day. Complications are far worse for soon to be mothers who are over 30 and overweight.  This should not equate to a new mother dying on the delivery table. 

With this new bill, Congress is taking steps to shed light on the severity of childbirth in our nation. According to USA Today Countries around the world have reduced maternal deaths and injuries by aggressively monitoring care and learning from mistakes. Childbirth is supposed to be a routine procedure for many hospitals and yet some hospitals are not equipped or trained to handle complications of childbirth. More than half of all deaths during childbirth can be prevented. This bill is a new start of States keeping data and analytics of how many women are actually dying during childbirth and what went wrong and what went right during delivery. 

Once a mother has given birth she is let go from the hospital and the postpartum care that is needed for many women fails to exist. More care needs to be put on the mother's health during pregnancy and after. With this new bill, data can be tracked to effect change and policy. New procedures can be implemented and childbirth in American can become safer. This is a win for new moms to be. Until we resolve this problem become an advocate for yourself and others. Discuss your childbirth expreinces with other new moms and let us all help and support each other.

 

 Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/deadly-deliveries/2018/07/26/maternal-mortality-rates-preeclampsia-postpartum-hemorrhage-safety/546889002/

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/07/568948782/black-mothers-keep-dying-after-giving-birth-shalon-irvings-story-explains-why

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