The United States Is The Deadliest Place In The Developed World To Give Birth

US Military / Public Domain

While maternal death rates among other developed nations have fallen, in the U.S. the number has soared.

A years long investigation by USA Today confirms what prior investigations and studies have asserted regarding maternal healthcare in America: the United States "is the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth."

Via Common Dreams:

> "Deadly Deliveries," the result of a four-year investigation, references federal data showing that more than 50,000 women are "severely injured" and roughly 700 die during childbirth each year. Perhaps even more staggering is that "half of these deaths could be prevented and half the injuries reduced or eliminated with better care," the investigation found.

> The findings, based on interviews with women and a trove of internal hospital records, "reveal a stunning lack of attention to safety recommendations and widespread failure to protect new mothers."

As with previous investigations, USA Today found that delayed responses to hemorrhaging and failure to address dangerously high blood pressure often underlie maternal deaths and injuries.

> A disturbing trend noted in the report: from 1990 to 2015, in most developed nations the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births was steady or dropped. Not so in the U.S., where the figure soared. In Germany, France, Japan, England, and Canada the number had fallen to below 10 in the time frame. In the U.S., meanwhile, the figured soared to 26.4.

One outlier is California, however:

> The state's maternal death rate fell by half—a drop attributed to it adopting "the gold standard" of safety measures.

Dr. Steven Clark, a leading childbirth safety expert and a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, told USA Today quality of care issues are “a failure at all levels, at national organization levels and at the local hospital leadership levels as well.”

> The investigation follows a related analysis out late last year by ProPublica. Affirming previous studies, its analysis found "that women who hemorrhage at disproportionately black-serving hospitals are far more likely to wind up with severe complications, from hysterectomies, which are more directly related to hemorrhage, to pulmonary embolisms, which can be indirectly related. When we looked at data for only the most healthy women, and for white women at black-serving hospitals, the pattern persisted."

Read the full report here.