General Question

2davidc8's avatar

Why is childbirth so dangerous to U.S. women?

Asked by 2davidc8 (9333points) September 22nd, 2018

The U.S. has one of the highest rates of maternal death in childbirth among “first world” nations, if not the highest. Why is that?
And what can typically go wrong in childbirth?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

US is 14 per 100,000 and UK is 9 in 2015. America seems to be at the bottom of the western world in the list after glancing at it. Here’s a link:

It’s not a large number more, but of course any death that could have been prevented is tragic. So, the percentage sounds huge, I did the math, 55% more women die in the US than in the UK per 100,000.

It’s a mixture of things.

Part of it has to do with access to health care during pregnancy.

Also, overall health in America, we have a lot of overweight women, and diabetes, and other health problems even before getting pregnant.

Possibly, I don’t know this for sure, we have more older women getting pregnant and giving birth.

Black women die much more often than white across all income levels in the US, and I don’t think they are completely sure why.

I remember reading there aren’t good protocols for the emergencies that kill women most in America, so if your emergency happens and the right specialist isn’t around, your likely to die.

I wonder if it might also have to do with distance to the hospital. America is a big wide open country in many areas. That last one is a complete guess on my part also. A friend of mine who is a doctor, his wife, who is a doctor, started hemorrhaging during her morning rounds in the hospital. She would have died if she hadn’t already been at the hospital.

snowberry's avatar

Don’t blame the mothers! California has the lowest maternal death rate in the US. What are they doing that hospitals in other states are not? They are reviewing the deaths of mothers in their care and are paying attention to what went wrong and actually fixing it!

States with high maternal death rates are blaming the moms, and are not even looking at what they could have done to reduce the death rate.

I clicked on one of many sources about the problem.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I will throw out some “truthiness” statements with no data – like our tweeter-in-chief.
Compared to other “first world countries….
Fewer high-risk pregnancies are terminated at a reasonable time. Women are forced to deliver even if it might be dangerous.
More high risk, drug addicted women are giving birth.
More unplanned, unwanted pregnancies are carried to completion. 50% of births are to single mothers.
Our for-profit medical system encourages spending less on care while charging more for limited services. Someone has to pay for those outrageously high CEOs’ salaries and benefits.

I’m sure there’s data on this but I’m tossing out the statements like TIC. Discuss.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Were you talking to me? I mentioned the protocol problem. Or, we could call it best practice or standard of practice problem.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

A tip of the cap to profit-based healthcare and the lack of universal access. For so many U.S. women, prenatal care begins when they go to hospital ERs in labor.

Patty_Melt's avatar

In addition to lack of proper care, there is also the other end of the spectrum, advances in medicine.
Women who ordinarily would not get pregnant are. Women are risking pregnancy with faith the medical facilities will be capable of seeing them through safely.
Multiple births stemming from in vitro, not aborting when conditions such as cancer or failing kidneys occur, many women are taking greater risks.
I was advised to abort my daughter. My condition when I learned I was pregnant led doctors to predict I had no more than a 30% chance of surviving the pregnancy.
I ignored their advice, and took my chances. Lots of women do that.

2davidc8's avatar

I suppose there are multiple factors involved…
First, there is the matter of access to healthcare. The health insurance situation in the U.S. is really problematic. Despite Obamacare, I can believe that there are lots of women without health insurance.
Next, the rates of obesity and diabetes are off the charts in this country. That can’t help.
But what about the quality of the healthcare. We like to think we have the best hospitals in the world. Maybe they’re just not that good. And what is the most common cause of death anyway? Is it sepsis? Organ failure? Or what?

snowberry's avatar

@2davidc8 Regarding our healthcare in the US, we may have the best health care in the world but it’s also the most expensive. I have known several people who, in spite of the “affordable” healthcare available to them, could not afford it. Medication doctors prescribe to them are too expensive for them to afford. Likewise co-pays, etc.

“Hopefully, other people will post some suggestions below, it’s of course not an easy question to answer, and we feel for people finding themselves in this position.“

I have a friend who is in this position. She is unable to pay the “affordable“ cost of healthcare, so she has neglected her health. She is an extremely resourceful person and finally located a free health clinic run by a Lutheran Church. She told me she had to wait five hours to be seen, (that’s a lot of people in her position!) but her alarming health condition is finally being addressed.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther