Monday, August 22, 2016

In contrast to most developed countries maternal mortality rates are rising in the U.S.

The rate of women dying from complications resulting from pregnancy or childbirth rose by 27 percent from 2000 to 2014. This increase is in contrast to other developed countries.

 
A study to be published this September in Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that 157 other countries reported a decrease in their maternal mortality rates. Maternal mortality is defined as a death while pregnant or within 42 days afterward due to causes related to the pregnancy.
The study covered 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The study encountered difficulties gathering data as the United States stopped publishing official data on maternal mortality rates in 2007. The researchers described the lack of comprehensive data on maternal mortality as an "international embarrassment". The lead researcher, pointed to a lack of funding as a reason for delays in compiling the data but the report was clear: "There is a need to redouble efforts to prevent maternal deaths and improve maternity care for the 4 million U.S. women giving birth each year."
Texas showed the most surprising increases. From 2006 to 2010 the rate was about 18 deaths per 100,000 births but in 2011 the rate increased to 33 and then to 35.8 in 2014. While the reasons for the sudden increase are not known they may be due in part to changes in women's health care within the system such as the closing of several women's health clinics.
In September of 2011 the state family planning budget was cut by fully two-thirds. Clinics providing abortion services were not funded. In 2013 an anti-abortion bill also restricted funding that caused many clinics to close.
One of the UN Millennium Development Goals was to cut the maternal mortality rate by three quarters between 1990 and 2015. The rate has been cut by about half, with 157 of 183 nations reporting decreases. From 2000 to 2014 in the United States the rate rose from 18.8 per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 25.8 in 2014. The only state without an increase was California. Of 31 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development the U.S. ranked 30th in maternal mortality rates, beating out only Mexico.
California has made strenuous efforts to reduce it maternal mortality rates. In 2006 it carried out a statewide review of pregnancy-associated mortality. It also contracted with the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative to investigate the causes of maternal death. The result was to develop tool kits to prevent two of the most causes of maternal death and also measures to improve care quality throughout the state.