According to U.S. News & World Report, over a 14-year period, maternal mortality rates have increased 27% in this country. These numbers are quite alarming when compared to other industrialized countries, where maternal mortality rates continue to be on the decline thanks to advances in modern medicine. Certain factors are thought to increase the risk of complications during and after birth, many of which are wholly preventable by medical staff.
While C-sections are often recommended for women experiencing difficult births, this procedure is associated with complications of its own. For example, women undergoing C-sections have a greater risk of bleeding after the surgery, which could require a blood transfusion if blood loss is too great. Uterine rupture, blood clots, and problems with the placenta are other side effects pregnant women must be aware of when it comes to C-sections. Doctors should also be wary about scheduling C-sections for convenience alone, as this leaves a woman open to much higher risk than actually necessary.
Pre-eclampsia, which is high blood pressure in women who've never experienced the issue before being pregnant, is another significant risk factor. That's why hospitals must have the proper safety procedures in place to deal with this and other common complications that may arise. Guidelines should be available for all hospital personnel who will interact with a pregnant woman to ensure issues like pre-eclampsia are identified as soon as possible. The same guidelines should be utilized to help treat hemorrhage or other issues that may occur during birth.
Finally, hospitals must realize that certain women tend to slip through the cracks when it comes to pregnancy care. Women who receive Medicaid during their pregnancy are only covered for 60 days after the birth of their babies. However, a large portion of deaths linked to pregnancy occur from seven days up to a full year after a woman gives birth. Doctors are also encouraged to keep in mind that different populations of women are faced with different risks during pregnancy. As an example, black women have higher rates of pre-eclampsia, so it's crucial that doctors are more diligent about screening for this condition to ensure the proper treatment is provided.