The United States is one of the richest, most "developed" countries in the world, yet why is it one of only eight countries where the death rate for mothers during pregnancy and childbirth is actually going up?
Well, according to experts, the shocking increase—up to 17.8 deaths of mothers per 100,000 live births from only 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987—is due to a wide variety of factors. The primary issue is obesity which is connected to diabetes and hypertension. Both cause complications that can lead to the death of the mother during delivery.
Other factors include women giving birth at older ages and, surprisingly, the high increase in the number of cesarean sections. Today, one in three American women opts to have a C-section. Another big factor? Unfortunately, the lack of access to affordable, high-quality health care, which contributes to certain racial groups and those who can not afford healthcare to have disproportionately higher rates of mother mortality.
Experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also say the increased mortality rate, which has more than doubled from 25 years ago, could also partly be due to better record keeping.
For now, experts are recommending more states implement the same guidelines across the board to create a uniform method for hospitals to deal with pregnancy and birth complications.
Dr. Michael Brodman, chairman of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, says, "We need to figure out the best way to do something and everybody should do it that way."