3 in 5 Pregnancy-Related Deaths in the United States Can Be Prevented: CDC ReportMay 08, 2019 12:25
A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that three in five pregnancy-related deaths in the United States can be prevented.
Pregnancy-related deaths can happen up to a year after a woman gives birth, according to the report released Tuesday.
Of the 700 pregnancy-related deaths that occur in the United States each year, about 31 percent happen during pregnancy, 36 percent happen during delivery or the week after birth and 33 percent occur one week to one year after delivery, the report states.
Stroke and heart disease caused more than one in three pregnancy-related deaths, but other leading causes comprised infections and severe bleeding, according to the CDC.
According to the report, the leading causes of death varied by the timing of the mother’s death. Most of the deaths were caused during delivery due to obstetric emergencies such as severe bleeding and amniotic fluid embolism when the fluid enters a mother’s bloodstream.
The week after delivery, high blood pressure, severe bleeding, and infection were the most common causes of death. Between one week and one year after giving birth, cardiomyopathy, or weakened heart muscle, causing the most deaths.
The report also found "persistent racial disparities," according to the CDC. The data also found that American Indian, black, and Alaska native women were about three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as white women. However, most deaths were preventable, irrespective of ethnicity or race.
The findings resulted from a CDC analysis of national data on pregnancy mortality between 2011 and 2015, as well as elaborated data from 13 state maternal mortality review committees.
Pregnancy-related deaths are defined as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within a year of pregnancy from maternity complication, a chain of events initiated by pregnancy or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy, according to the CDC.
"Every pregnancy-related death reflects a web of missed opportunities," the report states.
The committees determined that each pregnancy-related death was associated with several contributing causes, including lack of access to high-quality and appropriate care, delayed or missed diagnoses and lack of knowledge among patients and providers around cautionary signs.
The majority of the deaths, no matter when they happened, could have been prevented by addressing the factors at multiple levels, according to the CDC.
Ensuring quality care for mothers during pregnancy and postpartum "should be among our Nation's highest priorities," CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement.
"Though most pregnancies progress safely, I urge the public health community to increase awareness with all expectant and new mothers about the signs of serious pregnancy complications and the need for preventative care that can and does save lives," Redfield said.
According to the CDC, in addition to healthcare providers working to prevent maternal deaths, women and their families can cognize and communicate about the warning symptoms of complications and note their recent pregnancy history any time they receive medical aid in the year after delivery.
By Sowmya Sangam