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Reasons for high maternal mortality rates

While advances in modern medicine have made giving birth safer for women in Ohio and other states, America has not been matching other countries in terms of maternal mortality rates. Japan, Britain, Germany and other developed countries have decreased the rate of moralities for every 100,000 live births since 1990, but a study in 2013 found that U.S. mortality rates have risen. This means pregnant women in the U.S. face at least three times the risk of suffering a fatal complication during childbirth than women in several other countries.

One theory for the rise in maternal mortality rates is that pregnancy is now included as a cause on death certificates, but improved record keeping may not explain why the U.S. mortality rate rose while other developed countries have been making strides. The rise of cesarean deliveries may provide another reason as the risk for complications increases with any surgery, but the health of pregnant women might be the biggest factor in rising mortality rates.

Women in the U.S. might have more complications during pregnancy because they are already in poor health and have chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease. This makes giving birth more dangerous especially when women do not get the proper care while they are pregnant. Despite this, the state of California has shown it is possible to reduce mortality rates when focusing on the leading causes of preventable maternal deaths.

While others are trying to adopt California's model that lowered maternal deaths from 17 in 100,000 pregnancies to six, it is an unfortunate reality that some preventable deaths occur because of an error committed by a physician or other practitioner. When a death is the result of hospital negligence, the surviving family members may be able to receive compensation for the losses suffered with the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney.

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