The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics on Tuesday that indicate that pregnancy deaths in the US are increasing. What also concerns experts is that the majority of pregnancy deaths in the US are preventable.
According to CDC figures, 3 out of 5 pregnancy deaths in the US are preventable.
Out of 700 annual pregnancy-related fatalities, 31 percent are heart related. Infections and blood loss also caused a significant number of fatalities.
The CDC said that 31 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in the US happened during pregnancy. Another 36 percent of deaths were during labor through the first week after labor. And 33 percent of fatalities came after one week following the pregnancy. The CDC added that some pregnancy-related fatalities could happen up to a year following labor.
Minority women were also several times more likely to die from pregnancy complications.
“Ensuring quality care for mothers throughout their pregnancies and postpartum should be among our Nation’s highest priorities,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “Though most pregnancies progress safely, I urge the public health community to increase awareness with all expectant and new mothers about the signs of serious pregnancy complications and the need for preventative care that can and does save lives.”
The Modified Medical Research Council are recommending the medical community executes the following steps to reduce fatalities:
- Providers can help patients manage chronic conditions and have ongoing conversations about the warning signs of complications.
- Hospitals and health systems can play an important coordination role, encouraging cross-communication and collaboration among healthcare providers. They can also work to improve delivery of quality care before, during, and after pregnancy and standardize approaches for responding to obstetric emergencies.
- States and communities can address social determinants of health, including providing access to housing and transportation. They can develop policies to ensure high-risk women are delivered at hospitals with specialized health care providers and equipment — a concept called “risk-appropriate care.” And they can support MMRCs to review the causes behind every maternal death and identify actions to prevent future deaths.
- Women and their families can know and communicate about the warning symptoms of complications and note their recent pregnancy history any time they receive medical care in the year after delivery.