Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Maternal mortality

I know many people find America's maternal mortality statistics shocking -- particularly the fact that nearly two dozen countries have lower death rates attributable to pregnancy and birth than the US does -- but this report ratchets up the alarm.

Experts: U.S. Childbirth Deaths on Rise

By MIKE STOBBE
The Associated Press
Friday, August 24, 2007; 4:43 PM

ATLANTA -- U.S. women are dying from childbirth at the highest rate in decades, new government figures show. Though the risk of death is very small, experts believe increasing maternal obesity and a jump in Caesarean sections are partly to blame.

Some numbers crunchers note that a change in how such deaths are reported also may be a factor.

"Those of us who look at this a lot say it's probably a little bit of both," said Dr. Jeffrey King, an obstetrician who led a recent New York state review of maternal deaths.

The U.S. maternal mortality rate rose to 13 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2004, according to statistics released this week by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The rate was 12 per 100,000 live births in 2003 _ the first time the maternal death rate rose above 10 since 1977.
National Center for Health Statistics 2004 deaths report:



To read the full AP story go to:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/24/AR2007082401321.html

To read the government report, see page 12 at:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr55_19.pdf

10 comments:

Sage Femme said...

while I don't doubt these stats, what offends me the most is that this idea that obese women always have "big babies" (and somehow they cannot birth them???); diabetes or hypertension. this is a huge generalization and not accurate, but the testing methods used for both diabetes in pregnancy and even what constitutes "high blood pressure" at the end of pregnancy is erroneous.

I've also heard docs tell women that are heavy that they cannot birth a baby because of their "increased vaginal tissue" and "fat vaginal walls". !!

what IS true about obese women is that they DO NOT heal well from cesareans - and this totally plays into the poor outcomes. specifically for the myths that are swallowed by OBs listed above.

Sage Femme said...

oh, and I just attended a large woman who had a home VBAC (after CPD, no less) to a ten pound baby girl, who slipped into her partner's hands easily.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez said...

Hey, Tina. Long time no see. I was thinking about you the other day, and checking in. Glad to see you're still writing interesting stuff. Hope you and Tony are well. I'm here in Phoenix now, just reconnected with Tamika Simmons - remember her? Part of our GNO brigade?

My son was a ten-pounder. I'm a little overweight, but not obese. He's just an unusually tall person, heading for six-four if the pediatrician is right...

Tina Cassidy said...

Alisa -- so nice to hear from you!! Congrats on your son and your career as a novelist. You were always destined for that. Was your son born by c-section? (Sorry for the nonsequitor).

Tina Cassidy said...

Sage Femme -- I could not help but laugh at your quoting doctors who blame "fat vaginal walls...." for the high c-section rate. Do you think that will work as diversionary tactic? I don't. But seriously, in the course of writing my book I came across anthropological field work that claimed that native American squaws were told to fast near the end of the pregnancy so that their 'thin vaginal walls' would give the baby more room -- and incentive -- to slip out.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez said...

Man, sorry about that! Took me forever to see that you wrote back!

Yes, he was a C-section baby. Scary experience, I ended up with blod clots (DVT) in both legs, etc., but fine now.

"Fat vaginal walls"? Dear LORD.

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Lucy

http://maternitymotherhood.net