Maternal Mortality Rate: Facts and Statistics

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Learning about the maternal mortality rate can be daunting. There is a lot of information available, but it can be challenging to know what to believe. Here are some important facts and statistics about the mortality rate you should know:

Maternal Mortality Rate: What Is It?

The maternal mortality rate is the number of maternal deaths for every 100,000 births during the same period. This rate of mortality is for females who become deceased during pregnancy or within one year of being pregnant. This has been monitored for several years. Researchers seek to use this information to find ways to assist and educate providers to treat their pregnant patients better.

Reasons for Increased Mortality Rates

Many complications account for most maternal deaths. Here are a few of the main reasons for increased maternal mortality rates:

Bleeding

Bleeding during and after childbirth is expected to a certain extent. This is one of the most preventable contributors to the maternal mortality rate. Postpartum hemorrhage can often be overlooked during c-sections due to the lack of visibility of bleeding areas. Severe bleeding can lead to complications after birth and even death.

Preeclampsia and Eclampsia

Preeclampsia and eclampsia can lead to serious complications. Preeclampsia can be detected around 20 weeks into pregnancy. A pregnant patient with preeclampsia may have high blood pressure or high levels of protein in their urine. This may indicate that the pregnant person has kidney damage, which can harm both the fetus and the female.

A medical provider may recommend that patients diagnosed with preeclampsia deliver earlier to reduce health risks.

Eclampsia is a more severe complication of preeclampsia. Eclampsia can cause seizures without the other indicators of preeclampsia. In some cases, these seizures can induce comas or death. Screening for preeclampsia early on can prevent such complications.

Infections

Another reason for increased mortality rates is postpartum infections. Postpartum infections cause 10-15% of maternal deaths. These infections can lead to sepsis, bacteremia, shock, and death if not treated properly. A common reason these infections occur is trauma to the abdominal wall.

This trauma may also occur in the genital, urinary, or reproductive tracts during childbirth. Infection often happens in these areas because injuries during vaginal or cesarean births expose them to bacteria.

Ways to Reduce Mortality Rates

We can take certain precautions to reduce the risk of these life-threatening issues during pregnancy and childbirth. Attentive care to patients during, before, and after birth is the best safeguard.

Physicians should look for signs of severe bleeding that may lead to postpartum hemorrhage. They can use a translucent c-section drape for easier access to areas that may see increased bleeding during cesarean delivery. Attentive care after childbirth can prevent postpartum hemorrhage.

Infections can be reduced by pushing for greater caution to keep delivery environments sterile. Patient education is also a big part of this. Physicians and their staff can educate their postpartum patients on healthy afterbirth hygiene to decrease the chance of infection.

Easier access to health can help prevent complications due to preeclampsia or eclampsia. These issues can be caught early with regular screenings. The chance for early diagnosis is more likely if a patient has regular checkups during pregnancy.

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Physicians should educate pregnant patients about the early signs of preeclampsia. When patients have been educated about the early signs, they will know when to bring it to their physician’s attention.

Maternal Mortality Prevention

Preparation is one of the best ways physicians can reduce the maternal mortality rate. When one is prepared for the possibility of these issues, the more likely one can prevent them. Research to find different ways that you may be able to make a positive change.

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