In most developed nations, the number of maternal deaths has been flat or dropping since 1999. In the United States, the rate has risen sharply.
USA Today has released the results of an in-depth investigation into American maternal health and deliveries, revealing that the United States is the most dangerous place in the entire developed world to give birth. And to add insult to injury, it costs the most, too.
Researchers found that doctors and nurses routinely skip expert recommendations, like closely monitoring blood pressure and quantifying blood loss that could prevent child birth complications like strokes, blood clots, infections, paralysis, infertility, and death. The failure to do so shows what USA Today calls a “stunning lack of attention to safety recommendations and widespread failure to protect new mothers.” It found that 60% of deaths related to hypertension could have been prevented and 90% of deaths related to post-natal hemorrhaging could have been prevented by proper monitoring.
Those numbers are shocking and downright terrifying for anyone who ever wants to have a child, and they are unlikely to improve any time soon, because there is no centralized system in which to demand reforms to maternal care. Change won’t happen until it has to and, perversely, in a country without national health care, health insurance companies and malpractice insurers may end up leading the charge.
The one state that has implemented life-saving protocols for mothers? California, where the maternal death rate fell by half after the state and medical community teamed up to change maternal care.
Read the full terrifying report here while booking your ticket to California.