WOMEN WILL ROAR: Maternal Mortality Rates

Categories: health
02/01/2018

In 2018, you’d expect at the very least that giving birth to human life would be as safe as grocery shopping. Yet every day 830 women globally die from preventable causes related to maternal health. Within the past 20 years, the general population’s maternal mortality (MM) rates have decreased by 44 percent, while the US has increased gradually. The US has the highest maternal death rate in the “developed” world.” On top of everything else in the world, the safety of our mothers shouldn’t be compromised as well. Now this problem has been around for decades, but it’s recently gained more momentum with word of mouth by tennis superstar and badass mother, Serena Williams. She bravely told her story on experiencing postpartum emergency care due to a blood clot, and how it nearly cost her her life. But unlike Serena, so many women aren’t able to tell their stories.

Around 40 percent of all pregnant women living within low-income countries had the total recommended antenatal care visits, studies showed in 2015. Antenatal visits are essential to any healthy pregnancy with receiving of healthcare from professionals throughout pregnancy. According to WHO, the MM rates in “developed” countries are an average of 1 in 4900, while “developing” countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia has a statistic of approximately, 1 in 180. The causes behind the maternal mortality rates vary widely: from severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure leading to more extreme conditions, ruptured blood vessels, obstruction of an artery, overdosing of medications, and so on. While all are equally devastating, they’re just as preventable. Hospitals need to listen up and protect the mothers as much as they do with their children: most, if not, all of these problems can be solved with administering drugs preemptively and performing hygienic practices to avoid any more maternal deaths. External factors like poverty, distance to a health facility, lack of information, inadequate services, and cultural practices, combined with the hospital care all add up to measures that need to be fixed. So, the main idea to take away is, these deaths are mainly preventable.

While most of the world is on a gradual decline, the US is increasing in MM rates.

While most of the world is on a gradual decline, the US is increasing in MM rates. The US has the highest MM rates in the “developed” world with 26.4/100,000 in 2015, while the U.K. is the second highest at 9.2/100,000. From the latest statistics, unless the US mandates more care for mothers, the numbers will keep rising over time.  In 2016, studies showed a 20 percent spike in MM rates throughout the US, but a great increase was shown in Texas. According to recent findings, numbers show within Texas, there was an 87 percent increase over the past ten years. After many analyses, researchers concluded that black women are at greater risk and that most occur more than 42 days after delivery. Now this clearly shows that the US need to take initiative and focus on improving medical conditions in out hospitals. Within Texas, there’s the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, which has plans to fund for more research and health care until 2026. Just like them, let’s prioritize women’s health over your underlying measuring game with your manhood parading as offshore drilling and threats on nuclear war. Sounds good?

the crushing debt our country puts upon [mothers] needs to stop.

The rising maternal mortality rate isn’t the only problems facing our mothers, the crushing debt our country puts upon them needs to stop. In the US, the average price charged for pregnancy and newborn care can widely range, but it can end up being over $50,000. So as soon as the fresh-eyed mother gets her child, she gets a bill that’ll burn through 7 generations of kids’ wallets. In Sweden, a country with one of the lowest rates of MM, antenatal care is free with a possible daily charge that comes to about $13 US currency. We’re doing something wrong.

In 2015, over 303,000 deaths occurred because of lack of healthcare for our mothers. Maternal mortality isn’t something you think of, until it happens to you. You plan everything: from your baby’s name, the outfits for the first week, the supplies. You don’t plan on not being there a month after childbirth because hospitals didn’t provide more care.

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Delilah Gray is a Journalism Major with double minors in Political Science and Women’s Studies at Hofstra University. She hopes to also get her Masters in Education as soon as she graduates. Whatever she does with her life, she wants to work on journalism, activism, and help people. She enjoys body-painting, writing short stories, exploring nature, going on road trips, writing articles all about social justice, and reading.