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Childbirth shouldn't be so life threatening in the 21st century

The medical field has greatly benefited from the explosion of technology in the last few decades. People are living longer, new diagnostic tools can help identify life-threatening conditions earlier and more people can survive acute medical problems and live well despite chronic ones.

So why are so many expectant and new mothers dying, especially in the United States, which is one of the most developed countries on the planet? Many people are asking this question, and some of the answers discovered are disturbing.

What's going on?

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of a study regarding the issue of maternal mortality. It found that medical providers could have intervened and provided more assistance to expectant, delivering and post-partum mothers. It also discovered the following:

  • Around one-third of mothers suffer fatal complications while pregnant.
  • Another third of mothers died during childbirth and the first week after birth.
  • The final third experience fatal complications up to one-year post-partum.
  • The risk of death to American Indian, black and Alaska native women is three times that of white women.

When studying 700 deaths, the CDC discovered that strokes, heart disease and cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle, constituted the majority of those deaths. Instances of cardiomyopathy constituted the majority of deaths from one week to one year after delivery. During labor and delivery, the most often seen causes of death were from amniotic fluid embolism and hemorrhage. In an amniotic fluid embolism, amniotic fluid spills into the mother's bloodstream.

The research went on to show that at least half of these deaths did not have to happen. Better obstetric and medical care for the mothers would more than likely prevented their deaths. The obstetric community tended to blame the serious complications and deaths on mothers who were too fat, too unhealthy or too old to safely deliver a baby. Knowing that, it probably wouldn't surprise you to know that numerous providers and hospitals failed to meet health care and safety standards relating to childbirth.

Did you lose the mother of your child?

If the mother of your child died during pregnancy, childbirth or within the one year after the birth, the possibility exists that substandard medical care was to blame. A thorough evaluation of the situation by a California attorney with experience in medical malpractice could reveal that you have legal options in your pursuit of justice for her, your child and you.

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