Why Are Childbirth Death Rates on the Rise?

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Playing Women of Color More Likely to Die in Childbirth?

The number of women dying because of pregnancy and childbirth is on the rise and The Doctors investigate why this is happening and what can be done to prevent it. According to a recent study, America ranks higher in maternal mortality rates than any other developed country. So why are we so behind other countries when we have such an advanced medical care system?

OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry says these statistics make her "frustrated, and angry and disappointed." She continues, "When it comes to maternal mortality, our U.S. healthcare system is failing us. It's failing us as women, and we deserve better." Monifa Bandele, SVP of Moms Rising, tells The Doctors there are 3 reasons why death rates are climbing:

  • Preeclampsia: a dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure
  • Postpartum hemorrhaging: excessive bleeding after childbirth
  • Women feeling like they’re not being listened to by healthcare providers

And while these rates are affecting women across the country, the group most affected are African American women, who are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications.

Watch: Meet a Mom Who Lost Her Adult Daughter at 32-Weeks Pregnant

Guests Tracy and Xavier join the show to discuss losing Demi, who was married to Xavier and the daughter of Tracy. She was 32-weeks pregnant when she died. Demi had preeclampsia, which Dr. Nita explains impacts around 1 in 25 pregnancies in America. In addition to high blood pressure, other signs of preeclampsia include increased protein in the urine, headaches, blurry vision, pain at the top of the belly, or swelling. If not treated, preeclampsia can be dangerous and even deadly.

The Doctors stress the first step in a successful pregnancy is finding the right doctor. Dr. Nita says word of mouth can be the best way to gauge a good doctor. She suggests checking online to find out if the physician has any complaints. She also notes when looking at hospitals to deliver at, to ask about the complication rate and the C-section rate.

Watch: Preeclampsia Warning Signs and How to Pick the Right OB/GYN

Additionally, The Doctors note the importance of prenatal care and pre-conception counseling in hopes of having the best pregnancy and delivery possible. Some additional tips and suggestions to find a good OB/GYN include:

  • Ask your doctor about issues that are important to you and see if your views align in terms of things like pain management, elective induction of labor, etc. Do they have similar views? Do they respect your views?
  • Make sure your doctor is board-certified 
  • How is your communication with them?
  • Get referrals
  • Research them!
  • Research hospital quality 
  • Be aware of any complaints on your doctor’s record
  • Ask your hospital the C-section rate and the complication rate
  • If you feel dismissed, advocate for yourself 
  • Get a second opinion and keep pushing for what you need
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