Maternal death rates are on the rise, and it's getting some well-deserved attention. In our world of modern obstetrics with advanced technology, one would think that fewer mothers would be dying during or after childbirth, but the opposite is true.
That article caught my attention. It was a bit shocking to see the statistics and realize the real impact this is having on real mothers and their families.
According to the statistics from California, the increase in mothers dying is the result of the overuse of interventions such as c-sections and medical induction.
C-section rates are higher than ever. The US has an overall c-section rate of about 33%, with hospitals in some areas boasting rates close to 50%. That means that in the United States, 1 out of every 3 babies is born by c-section. The World Health Organization recommends a safe c-section rate for developed countries (like the United States) is 10-15%. They also state that when the c-section rate is more than 15% the risks outweigh the benefits and more mothers and babies are at risk for complications. Complications that are completely avoidable.
Amnesty International is concerned and advocating for changes in maternal health care:
"According to Amnesty, which gathered data from many sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately half of the pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable, the result of systemic failures, including barriers to accessing care; inadequate, neglectful or discriminatory care; and overuse of risky interventions like inducing labor and delivering via cesarean section. 'Women are not dying from complex, mysterious causes that we don't know how to treat,' says Strauss. 'Women are dying because it's a fragmented system, and they are not getting the comprehensive services that they need.'"
"In the U.S., we spend more than any country on health care, yet American women are at greater risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes than in 40 other countries."
ABC has reported about the statistics in California and brought some much-needed attention to this problem. One thing they recommend in this video: avoid unnecessary interventions during pregnancy and birth. This means avoiding induction, scheduled c-sections and other interventions unless they are medically necessary.
What do you think? What else can women do to protect themselves from the dangers of overaggressive obstetrics?