Goals come with challenges. Federal and state government, teaching hospitals, and OB clinics are working to improve maternal health risks. Using the World Health organization ‘s definition, maternal death is death during pregnancy or related to the pregnancy and up to 42 days following delivery. However, other definitions (like the September 2016 issue of Obstet Gynecol) define maternal mortality as “the death of a woman while pregnant or during the one-year period following the date of the end of pregnancy.” So who is right? And although many stats show a steady increase in maternal death “the provisional number of births for the United States in 2017 was 3,853,472” (per CDC); therefore women are taking on the challenges of pregnancy with its possible risks and are reaching their goal of carrying and delivering a new little person.
Here are some risks occurring in South Carolina (2011-2015):
—- There are demographic disparities including a “substantial racial disparity” for care. Non-Hispanic Black women were 3.7 times more likely to die in pregnancy and child birth compared to non-Hispanic White women.
—-Women of all categories 35 years of age or older were at higher risk.
—-South Carolina’s 64 total deaths’ causes were broken down into seven categories: Medical conditions complicating pregnancies tops the list at 21 deaths.
Cardiovascular disease and hypertension were the next two causes, followed by complications of labor and delivery, ectopic pregnancy issues, disease of the cerebral vascular system and last was other unspecified causes.
In California, the state with the highest number of babies born, the researchers and clinicians have found ways needed to decrease the risk of death from hemorrhaging and pre-eclampsia. Treating hypertension aggressively is one. Educating nurses and doctors to know what preventative actions to use quickly and to use special online toolkits an OB professor developed is another. (See California Quality Care Collaborative)
Still awaiting passage by the US Congress, The Maternal Health Accountability Act S-112 facilitates states’ maternal care and also provides federal funding for their maternal care review boards to prevent deaths from occurring because of flawed care or lack of care.
Another important issue is caring for women considering abortion, during abortion and after abortion is vital. Medical issues directly related to an abortion exist such as hemorrhage. Others are difficulties with future pregnancies, lowering of mental health (including PTSD, accidents, and higher suicide rate) and even a lower life expectancy. Women who’ve had multiple abortions may have a higher risk developing breast cancer.
Care given for both a woman wanting to carry her pregnancy or one that does not is life-giving. Hopefully success in care will help more goals to be attained for both mother and baby.
MacDorman M, Declercq E, Cabral H, Morton C. Is the United States Maternal Mortality Rate Increasing? Disentangling trends from measurement issues. U.S. Maternal Mortality Trends. Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Sep; 128 (3): 447-455.
NCHS is the principal agency of the US Federal statistical system and operates under the CDC
Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2017
“Lost Mothers” N. Martin, R. Montagne NPR/Propublica article
Elliot Institute. (2003). “Our Mission & Ministry.” Elliot Institute. N.p.,
2003. Web. 18 Jun 2011. http://afterabortion.org/2011
Rue et. al. (2004). “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): SR5-16 (2004) http://www.artsenverbond.nl/abortion.pdf
Abortion Breast Cancer Coalition. (2010). “Stop the Cover-up!” Abortion Breast Cancer Coalition, http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/