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The dangers of giving birth in the U.S.

Expectant mothers hope for a smooth delivery and healthy baby. But shockingly, the United States is trailing other developed nations in many areas when it comes to maternal death rates, premature delivery rates, and infant mortality.

A four-year investigation by USA Today found that the United States is the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth. Every year in the U.S., approximately 700 mothers die and 50,000 are injured during or after giving birth.

The two health conditions that are mostly likely to result in a maternal death are:

  • Hemorrhaging: During a vaginal birth, the average woman loses about 1 pint of blood; during a C-section, up to 2 pints of blood can be lost. When excessive bleeding occurs, immediate medical treatment should be administered to prevent serious harm or death.
  • Severe hypertension: Abnormally high blood pressure can threaten the health of the baby and mother. When a mother’s blood pressure reaches 160/110, she is at risk for suffering a stroke. If severe hypertension has set in, doctors should take immediate action.

After childbirth, the mother’s vitals should be closely monitored. Instead of merely observing the mother, medical staff should run tests. Medical providers should also listen closely to any concerns expressed by the mother in the hours and days following delivery.

While the United States may be the most dangerous developed country to give birth in, one state is a shining example of maternal medical care: California. Through the work of advocacy groups and perinatal quality collaboratives, maternal deaths have been cut in half.

You can read USA Today’s full report here.

The law firm of Elk & Elk recently published a white paper that explores this issue and how it is affecting Ohio.

Read our free white paper: Protecting Ohio’s Babies And Mothers: Understanding Premature Delivery Rates And Infant Mortality In Ohio.