Sunday, March 7, 2010

Maternal Mortality Rates Rising

"New Study Shows More Women are Dying After Childbirth, but Most Deaths are Preventable"

Full Text Here
According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. ranks behind more than 40 other countries when it comes to maternal death rates, with 11 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies when measured in 2005. More women die in the U.S. after giving birth than die in countries including Poland, Croatia, Italy and Canada, to name a few.

My first instinct is to loudly shout, "I told you so!!!", but I am going to refrain. At least for the moment.
The popularity of scheduled C-sections has also been cited by public health experts as a possible cause for rising maternal mortality rates. The latest data from the CDC shows that 31 percent of the mothers now choose to have C-sections, up 50 percent since 1996. Studies have repeatedly shown a higher rate of mortality in mothers who have a C-section delivery, especially those who have multiple C-sections. "If the risks of a Cesarean birth are small, they're magnified greatly when you add many more Cesarean births each year," said Main, adding that "not that many women actually choose to have an elective C-section at the beginning, but it's easy to fall into a pattern of care that ends up resulting in a C-section."

I'm really biting my tongue now. I mean, HELLO!!!!!! Where have the doctors been when the natural birth advocates are shouting - "NO, it's not JUST about OUR experience... it's about safety!"

And, it drives me crazy - because they aren't looking at ways to REDUCE the underlying cause - the cesarean - they are looking for better ways to warn and treat mothers AFTER they have the cesarean. While this is important, this DOES NOT solve the problem... or even ATTEMPT to solve the problem.

Essentially we're saying - "Hey, I know that your risk of dying is higher if you have this completely unnecessary elective cesarean, and even more so if you decide you want more children... but we'll just put some compression boots on your legs and let you know that if you feel funny, you should tell someone... and that will make it all better."


Cesarean surgery is associated with 33 serious complications – a number 8 times greater that the risks of vaginal birth.

In comparison with vaginal birth, a cesarean increased harm due to:

- Death, related to surgery or anesthesia (rare)
- Emergency hysterectomy
- Blood clots and stroke
- Injuries from surgery
- Longer hospitalization
- Rehospitalization
- Infection
- Severe and long-lasting pain
- Ongoing pelvic pain
- Bowel obstruction (due to scar tissue and adhesions)

In comparison with cesarean, vaginal birth (both spontaneous and assisted with vacuum or forceps) increased harms due to:

- Perineal pain
- Any urinary incontinence
- Any bowel incontinence

The risk of maternal death 3 to 5 times greater during or after operative delivery.

We should be focusing on the cesarean rate, the induction rate, the rate of routine and unnecessary interventions to the normal labor and birth process...

But, now I'm moving on to a completely NEW post, and I will save that for later.