ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The number of women dying during childbirth is down in almost every country in the world. But that’s not the case in the United States where the number has increased 27-percent in the past 25 years. Most of these deaths are preventable.
The United States may be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but it joins eight other countries, including Afghanistan and South Sudan, where the number of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth is going up.
There are a number of reasons for this and a big one is the obesity problem. The CDC says more pregnant women in the U.S. have chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. In fact, heart-related problems make up a big portion of pregnancy-related deaths.
Another factor could be the rates of C-section deliveries which have risen more than 50-percent since 1996 and now account for a third of all births. C-sections require intensive surgery, and are associated with higher health and safety risks for mothers and infants.
And finally as American women delay having kids, their age puts them at risk for maternal mortality. While less than 15-percent of all births in the United States are to women 35 years and older, they account for up to 29-percent of all the pregnancy related deaths.
Health officials say the focus must be on improving the health of women before they get pregnant and improving access to more affordable and better quality healthcare.
The numbers also show that racial disparities persist. Black women in the United States are up to three times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth compared to white women. While the reason for this isn’t known, the CDC points to factors like poverty and insurance coverage.
Contributors to this news report include: Jessica Sanchez, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Gabriella Battistiol, News Assistant.