The recent congressional debate over health care has caused the country to question national priorities. The United States is home to some of the most advanced medical care available on the planet. People travel to the US for life-saving treatment and procedures from all over the world. While the United States continues to provide technically advanced medical care to millions of people, certain types of care fall startlingly behind.
Maternal Mortality in the Developed World
Giving birth can be one of the most monumental, life changing, and empowering events in a woman’s life. Women often spend nine months preparing for the big day, getting baby things ready and imaging what life will be like when they welcome their little one.
For families, time is spent thinking about the baby, being sure all is well with the baby. Pre-natal care for families generally focuses on the health of the baby. Sadly, for some families, the birth of a child is accompanied by the death of many of those dreams.
When mothers die after birth, families are left devastated. With as advanced as the medical system is in the US, still, the US is home to some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. According to a study in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the maternal death rate in Texas is the highest in the developed world. Not the highest in the country, the highest in the developed WORLD.
Why Is The Period After Birth More Dangerous in Texas?
According to that same study, the maternal death rate in Texas is 35.8 per 100,000 live births. In Japan, that rate is only 5 per 100,000 and in Poland only 3 in 100,000. The maternal death rate in Texas shows significant racial disparity. Black mothers account for only 11% of the population in Texas but are 29% of maternal deaths.
Many contributing factors have been identified as potentially linked to the high rates in Texas. The dramatic rise in cesarean sections and related complications has been found to be a factor as have things like increases in diabetes and other chronic health problems.
Texas is seeking to emulate programs implemented in California that have brought the maternal mortality rate there down to 7 in 100,000. Those programs help equip doctors and nurses with life-saving skills and equipment.
Texas State Representative Shawn Thierry (D) has proposed a bill in Texas to extend funding for the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force to address the high rates of death among Texas mothers.
The postpartum period, the time immediately following the birth of a baby, often requires little technological care, but does need experienced attention. Supporting mothers with individual attention as they transition from pregnancy to motherhood can enable care givers to spot potential complications before they become deadly.