The U.S. is the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth in according to a report. About 50,000 women are “severely injured” during childbirth, and about 700 women die every year. Half of these deaths could have been prevented, as could the injuries, if correct safety procedures had been followed, according to an investigation by USA Today.
While most women give birth with no issue, “The Global Burden of Disease 2015 Maternal Mortality” study published in The Lancet journal and cited in the USA Today’s “Deadly Deliveries” report, lays bare the startling disparity between the U.S. and other developed nations.
Maternal mortality was defined as a death occurring because of obstetric complications or when pregnancy exacerbates a pre-existing medical condition.
The conclusion was the result of a four-year investigation that assessed more than half a million pages of internal hospital-quality records, including more than 150 cases of botched deliveries.
It revealed the leading causes of death in the U.S. were hemorrhage and severe hypertension, where blood pressure and blood loss levels have to be closely monitored. And medical professionals too often “eyeball” instead of measure blood-loss levels, according to USA Today.
Analysis of records on federally funded quality programs for dozens of hospitals in New York, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas indicated fewer than half of maternity patients were treated for blood pressure high enough to cause stroke. And less than 15 percent of women in danger received recommended treatments.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not immediately respond to a request for comment on these findings.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists addresses the disparity in maternal mortality between the U.S. and other developed nations on its website. It also points to the racial disparities in maternal mortality. Black women, for example, are three to four times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than non-Hispanic white women.
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