Maternal mortality higher in the US than other rich countries

One pregnant woman or new-born dies every 7 seconds

Women in America are more prone to die from pregnancy related causes than the ladies in other rich countries. Moreover, the country also has a shortage of maternity care providers, which is considered bad for the future.

These findings have come up in a study by the Commonwealth Fund that compared the United States with ten other rich countries. They said that maternal mortality rate in the US stood at 17 for every 100,000 births in 2018. This was more than double the rate of in other countries.

The Commonwealth Fund said that 52 per cent of the pregnancy related deaths occurred after delivery. This was mainly because of cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening of the Coronary Heart muscles. They also noted that extreme bleeding, hypertension and infections were related to deaths before child birth.

The report finds that the US has the higher rates of pregnancy related deaths even though it spends more on health care. The report also mentioned that maternal mortality was more connected to racial disparities. They found that Black ladies had more risk of losing their lives than white ladies.

The data showed that the US reported 17 maternal deaths for one lakh births in 2018. Meanwhile, the maternal mortality ratio was three per lakh births in European countries.

One of the main reasons attributed to the loss of more lives in the US is the lack of maternal care supplies, together with obstetricians/gynaecologists and midwives. The report mentions that all the other rich countries have the facilities and requirements more than the US.

In the report, the researchers said that it was not clear if the low maternal mortality was related to midwives. But maternal care is well integrated into the primary health care system where the midwives play an important role during and after pregnancy.  The researchers note that home visits by a midwife or nurse is associated with improved mental health and breastfeeding outcomes.  Except the United States, all other rich countries guarantee at least one such visit within one week postpartum.

Another issue highlighted is that the Country does not give paid leave to mothers after delivery.  A mother after delivery needs psychological as well as physical stability, the report said.

Some Findings

  • Around one-third of pregnancy related deaths in the US counted up to one year post birth.
  • 17 Percent of deaths occurred on the day of delivery.
  • 52 per cent of deaths occurred after delivery
  • 19 Percent of maternal deaths occurred between one and six days postpartum.
  • 21 Percent of maternal deaths are between one and six weeks postpartum.
  • 12 percent of all maternal deaths take place during the remaining portion of the year



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