As U.S. Maternal Mortality Rates Soar, Injuries to Baby May Follow
According to Harvard Medical School, expecting moms in the United States are now 50 percent more likely to die in childbirth than their mothers. The rate had alarmingly more than doubled from 10.3 per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 23.8 in 2014, and experts agree, the majority of these deaths could be avoided. These numbers rank the U.S. as the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world, positioning health care providers to blame for their failures and carelessness in keeping mothers and babies safe during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum stages.
Pregnancy-Related Deaths Are Mostly Preventable
In May 2019, the CDC’s announced that pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable in nearly 60 percent of known cases, and leading causes of death can differ throughout pregnancy and after delivery. Through an analysis of data provided over six-years:
- Heart disease and stroke caused more than 1 in 3 deaths overall.
- Obstetric emergencies, like severe bleeding and amniotic fluid embolism (when amniotic fluid enters a mother’s bloodstream), caused most deaths at delivery.
- In the week after delivery, severe bleeding, high blood pressure, and infection were most common.
- Cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscle) was the leading cause of deaths one week to one year after delivery.
- Nearly 1/3 (31 percent) happened during pregnancy.
- Just over 1/3 (36 percent) happened at delivery or in the week after.
- Exactly 1/3 (33 percent) happened one week to one year postpartum.
Baby’s Health is Also Dependent on Mom’s Medical Care
Fifty thousand women suffer from life-threatening complications of pregnancy each year and events which can occur up to a year after a woman gives birth. No matter when they happen though, most will be preventable or at the least treatable, according to the 2019 CDC Vital Signs report. The major complications that account for nearly 75 percent of all maternal deaths include:
- severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth)
- infections (usually after childbirth)
- high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)
- complications from delivery
There are also many consequences on a baby, whose mother after faulted clinical obstetric care develops an increased risk of death of injury from preventable childbirth-related complications. If a mother dies during pregnancy or childbirth, there is also a higher likelihood of birth injury to the baby, and the possibility of decreased care and support in the household, which may contribute to the higher risk of child death. In 2017, the total number of infant deaths in the United States was approximately 22,258. The infant mortality rate was 5.8 deaths per 1,000 births, down from 7.1 in 2005 but still higher than those of other wealthy nations, according to Health Affairs.
Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer at Levin & Perconti
If you suspect medical negligence may have contributed to a maternal death or injury to a newborn during delivery, please contact Levin & Perconti toll-free at 877-374-1417, or in Chicago at (312) 332-2872 for a FREE consultation.