Monday, March 24, 2008

US Mothers are Dying... Why don't we know that?

Crunchy Domestic Goddess wrote a post on that title last week, and I have been saving it. It's starred in my reader, and a MUST READ for anyone considering having a baby; anyone who knows someone having a baby; EVERYONE!

Food for thought (from her post):
The maternal death rate in the United States is the highest it’s been in decades - 13 deaths* per 100,000 live births and, even more startling, for black women 34.7 deaths per 100,000, in 2004. Gaskin asserts it also may be seriously underreported. According to the Center for Disease Control in 1998, “there is so much misclassification in the US system of maternal death reporting that the actual number could be as much as three times greater than the number officially published each year.

THREE TIMES! Did you read it?

You might say that I am scaring people, but let's face it. Some people need to be freaked out enough to stop and think about what is happening in this country! I touched on it in my post about The Business of Being Born.

So, why don't "we" know about this? My thought-- people don't want to know. We are socialized to believe that if we go in to the hospital and deliver our baby, everything will work out wonderfully.

Well, guess what?

It doesn't. Life isn't perfect, and childbirth carries risks no matter where you birth. If you feel comfortable in a hospital, great. If not, no problem. But take a minute to weigh the risks associated with BOTH options! Look beyond what society (and your doctor/midwife for that matter) tell you, and think for yourselves ladies! Our brains work as well as our vaginas.

In a society full of instant gratification, pregnancy and childbirth is an excellent opportunity for delayed gratification-- working towards that final goal. Be patient. Trust yourself and your body. Be healthy. And bask in the final result!

***In the interest of full disclosure, I am opposed to unnecessary medical intervention in to labor and delivery. I am well aware from my own birthing experience that sometimes things don't go as planned and intervention is necessary.


care said...

the EPA must evaluate cancer risks (aka, death risk) to humans when the risk of your most exposed individual is 100 in 1,000,000 or more.

I am disgusted that there's no one regulating medical care in the same way. Not that *any* deaths are acceptable, but clearly we don't live in a perfect world. But anyway, this is awful. Is there someone we can write a letter to or something like that?

Maria said...

Care-- The AMA is absolutely opposed to anyone but doctors delivering babies. They'd probably be a top priority for letter writing, but their interest is in protecting doctors. Another option-- legislators. In some states there is no regulation of midwives, so people are afraid to use them. There are a couple of organizations that are working towards certifying midwives and nurse-midwives, which could go a long way towards opening up options for women.

As for the reporting, I think that the medical schools need to do a better job of equipping doctors.

I'll look more in to this topic though and write another post on where to write and how to make a difference.

PunditMom said...

These are startling and upsetting stats. Off to read more now.

Courtney said...

I think a large part of the number (increase) is due to the fact that so many women in the US are using drugs TO GET PREGNANT and invitro and so many other methods that cause multiple births (more than just twins) and THAT could be the big factor in this....because most ALL of those women have c-sections because of the multiple factor and lots of them end up having LOTS of problems during or right after birthing (surgery)...

Courtney said...

not to downplay all the things you already brought up... but that has to have something to do with it too

Maria said...

Interesting thought Courtney. I'll look in to it and report back. A lot of what I have read indicates the numbers increase as the number of elective c-sections and other medical intervention (pit, etc) increases, but I've never looked specifically for conception intervention.

tanya@motherwearblog said...

Great post! I can't believe how we rank in these kinds of things relative to the rest of the developed world, when we spend so much on health care. It's such a shame.

Courtney said...

sorry i didn't do any formal research...but if you do, let me know...

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