mcloudy.png
Thursday August 22nd, 2019 12:16PM

US pregnancy deaths up, and report says most are preventable

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

More U.S. women are dying from pregnancy-related causes, and more than half of those deaths are preventable, government health officials said in a report Tuesday.

Although these deaths are rare — about 700 a year — they have been rising for decades, especially among black women.

"An American mom today is 50% more likely to die in childbirth than her own mother was," said Dr. Neel Shah, a Harvard Medical School obstetrician.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists meanwhile has released new guidelines saying women should have a comprehensive heart-risk evaluation 12 weeks after delivery, but up to 40% of women don't return for that visit and payment issues may be one reason.

Bleeding and infections used to cause most pregnancy-related deaths, but heart-related problems do now.

"Pregnancy is really a stress test" because of the extra blood the heart is moving for mom and child, said the head of the guidelines panel, Dr. James Martin. That can reveal previously unknown problems or lead to new ones.

Tuesday's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that about one third of maternal deaths happened during pregnancy, a third were during or within a week of birth, and the rest were up to a year later.

Globally, maternal mortality fell about 44% between 1990 and 2015, according to the World Health Organization. But the U.S. is out of step: Moms die in about 17 out of every 100,000 U.S. births each year, up from 12 per 100,000 a quarter century ago.

Possible factors include the high C-section rates in the U.S. and soaring rates of obesity, which raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other complications.

Black women in the U.S. are about three times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause as others, partly because of racial bias they may experience in getting care and doctors not recognizing risk factors such as high blood pressure, said Dr. Lisa Hollier, the obstetrician group's president.

Stacy Ann Walker may be an example. She was 29, healthy and excited to be expecting her first child eight years ago "when the unimaginable happened and left both of us fighting for our life."

The Hartford, Connecticut, woman said her doctor brushed off her complaints of shortness of breath, exhaustion and swelling in her legs as normal aches and pains of pregnancy. Her baby developed life-threatening complications requiring an emergency cesarean section, and weighed less than 3 pounds at delivery.

But her ordeal wasn't over. After the birth, she developed heart valve problems and heart failure, requiring surgery.

"Never did I think my life would be in danger," said Walker, who is black. She spoke at a news conference the obstetricians group held on the guidelines.

The CDC looked at about 3,000 pregnancy-related deaths from 2011 through 2015, using death certificates. Researchers also looked at more intensive investigations of about 250 deaths done in 13 states.

The latter review determined that 60% of deaths were preventable. Often, three or four problems contributed to a death, ranging from doctors' mistakes to the difficulty some women had getting housing and healthy food.

The report shows the need to educate doctors and patients about risks for new moms, and to expand Medicaid health coverage in all states so that postpartum care is available for all moms up to a year after giving birth, said Dr. Alison Stuebe of the University of North Carolina.

"We as a society do a terrible job of taking care of mothers after the baby comes out," she said.

"It's like the baby is the candy and the mama is the wrapper," she added. "Once the baby is out of the wrapper, the wrapper is tossed aside."

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US pregnancy deaths up, and report says most are preventable
Officials say more U.S. moms are dying from pregnancy-related causes, and most of the deaths are preventable
1:07PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Israel comes to standstill as siren wails for Memorial Day
Israel is commemorating its annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism
1:04PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Denver could make history with vote on 'magic mushrooms'
Voters could make Denver the first U.S. city to decriminalize the use of psilocybin, the psychoactive substance in "magic mushrooms"
12:51PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Will new royal baby's name honor Princess Diana? Stay tuned
Britons love to lay down their bets _ and with the birth of a healthy baby boy for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, it's time to focus on boys' names
11:32AM ( 1 hour ago )
Alexander? James? Spencer? Name game is on for royal baby
Britons love to lay down their bets _ and with the birth of a healthy baby boy for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, it's time to focus on boys' names
11:14AM ( 1 hour ago )
Melania Trump to announce expansion of 'Be Best' initiative
Melania Trump is celebrating the anniversary of her 'Be Best' children's initiative by announcing plans to expand it
10:37AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Health
Trump defends health workers' right to object to abortions
President Donald Trump has moved to toughen restrictions on abortion with a measure that would protect health care workers who object to procedures on moral or religious grounds
12:43PM ( 4 days ago )
Trump defends clinicians' right to refuse to do abortions
Advancing his anti-abortion agenda, President Donald Trump is moving to protect health care workers who object to procedures like abortion on moral or religious grounds
12:07AM ( 4 days ago )
Alabama House approves near total abortion ban
Alabama House lawmakers has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban almost all abortions in the state, sending legislation to Senate for consideration
8:56PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Israel comes to standstill as siren wails for Memorial Day
Israel is commemorating its annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism
1:04PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Denver could make history with vote on 'magic mushrooms'
Voters could make Denver the first U.S. city to decriminalize the use of psilocybin, the psychoactive substance in "magic mushrooms"
12:51PM ( 22 minutes ago )
White House orders ex-counsel McGahn to defy House subpoena
The White House has instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a subpoena for documents from the House Judiciary Committee, arguing that the materials are subject to executive privilege
12:43PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Iraq planning $53B megaproject with ExxonMobil, PetroChina
The prime minister of Iraq says he has instructed his country's Oil Ministry to finalize an agreement with global energy giants ExxonMobil and PetroChina to lead a $53 billion megaproject to boost oil production
12:41PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Woman held in Poland for adding LGBT rainbow to revered icon
Rights groups and government critics in Poland are protesting after police temporarily detained a human rights activist for putting up posters depicting the country's most revered Catholic icon with the LGBT rainbow on the halos of Mary and baby Jesus.
12:41PM ( 32 minutes ago )