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The frightening facts about maternal mortality

If you are like most expectant mothers, you probably spent most of your pregnancy excited and full of anticipation. There may have been some feelings of trepidation or worry mixed in, too, but they were likely concerns over the health of your unborn infant or new baby, rather than worries for your own well-being. Frighteningly, though, for many U.S. mothers, their own health — or rather, the lack of adequate health care for women during the maternal period — may be cause for the utmost concern.

Maternal mortality

Thankfully, after years of effort to prevent birth defects and pre-term birth, as well as improve outcomes for premature infants, the rate of newborn deaths is at an all-time low. In contrast are the ever-worsening statistics surrounding maternal mortality rates in the United States. Every year, up to 900 women die from pregnancy or causes directly related to childbirth, and a staggering 65,000 almost die.

This is especially upsetting given that the rest of the world seems to be addressing this problem and reducing the health risks to expectant mothers, while in the U.S., maternal deaths actually increased between 2000 and 2014. Consider these facts about the maternal period (the window the Centers for Disease Control defines as beginning at the start of a pregnancy and extending to one year after delivery):

  • American women are three times likelier to die than Canadian women during maternal period
  • American women are six times likelier to die than Scandinavian women during maternal period
  • CDC analysis indicates that up to 60 percent of maternal period deaths are preventable

The reasons for this higher risk of maternal death are many, but include:

  • An increase in the age at which women experience their first pregnancy
  • A greater prevalence of C-sections, which leads to more life-threatening complications
  • Lack of access to adequate health care for expectant mothers
  • Health care providers' confusion and lack of ability to recognize symptoms and treat obstetric emergencies

It appears that many health care providers focus so intently on fetal and infant health that the well-being of the mother pales in importance. Highly-trained specialists monitor newborn babies more closely than their mothers before, during and after birth, while the staff who treat mothers are sometimes unprepared or improperly trained. This, tragically, can prove catastrophic or even fatal.

Postpartum complications

If you are one of the unlucky mothers severely injured due to an OB-GYN's negligence or error, you do not have to suffer in silence. Neither should you have to bear the financial burden of the resultant medical expenses. An Ohio attorney with experience in pregnancy-related injuries will be able to offer guidance on pursuing compensation for your pain and suffering. OB-GYN malpractice cases are notoriously difficult to prove, so you will likely want to consider an attorney with a proven track record of success in cases of this nature.

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