More than expected rise in US maternal death rate: Study

More than expected rise in US maternal death rate: Study

A rise has been witnessed in the US maternal death rate, women who die during or soon after pregnancy, unveils a new study. National maternal death rate from 2000 to 2014 has increased by around 27%.

The research paper published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology said that the numbers are more than expected. Researchers were estimating a rate of 16 per 100,000, but federal health officials have reported a rise in the figures.

Study’s lead researcher Marian MacDorman, of the University of Maryland said that the position where the US stands is not at all a good place when it comes to maternal death rate. Considering the 2014 numbers, America stands at 30th position in the list of 31 countries beating only Mexico when reporting data to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The researchers said that better reporting is definitely one of the main reasons behind the national increase. Gradually, the nation has been adopting a new standard death certificate, which includes many pregnancy check boxes.

MacDorman said that then also around 20% of the increase did show a real rise in women’s deaths. But then also maternal death is considered to be a rare event without ignoring the fact that it is a matter of concern.

The researchers have not been able to know the exact reason behind the rise in maternal death rate. Among the factors speculated behind the rise include women in the US are having babies at older ages. Not to miss, women are increasingly gaining weight and have medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. This means that women are conceiving with greater risk. In comparison to other states, California showed a decline in maternal deaths.

The study paper published in the scientific journal Med Scape informed...

The United States appears to have fallen far short of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal that targeted a 75% reduction in maternal mortality by 2015. The estimated maternal mortality rate for nearly all of the 48 states included in the analysis increased from 2000 to 2014.

Although much of the reported increase in maternal mortality rates from 2000 to 2014 "was the result of improved ascertainment of maternal deaths," the authors write, combined data for 48 states and the District of Columbia showed a 26.6% increase in the estimated maternal mortality rate, from 18.8 in 2000 to 23.8 in 2014. "Clearly at a time when the World Health Organization reports that 157 of 183 countries studied had decreases in maternal mortality between 2000 and 2013, the U.S. maternal mortality rate is moving in the wrong direction,"

"[I]n any given data year, some states were using the U.S. standard question, others were using questions incompatible with the U.S. standard, and still others had no pregnancy question on their death certificates," the authors write. As a result, the United States has not published an official maternal mortality rate since 2007, an "international embarrassment," according to the authors, stemming from chronic underfunding of state and national vital statistics systems and contributing to a dearth of comparative data for international data repositories and impeding the assessment of progress toward improvement goals.

"[H]ad the National Center for Health Statistics and the Texas vital statistics office both been publishing annual maternal mortality rates, the unusual findings from Texas for 2011–2014 would certainly have been investigated much sooner and in greater detail," the authors stress. "The lack of publication of U.S. maternal mortality data since 2007 has also meant that these data have received a lesser degree of scrutiny and quality control when compared with published vital statistics measures such as infant mortality."

"Although all violence against females must be addressed, we recommend that state maternal mortality review committees, in addition to reviewing deaths resulting from obstetric and clinical causes, should conduct in-depth reviews of pregnancy-associated homicides and other violent deaths," the authors write. "It is only when we assess factors that increase females' risk of homicide during pregnancy and the postpartum period that we can identify populations and targets amenable to intervention."

"Most of the time, I think of women in terms like 'strong,' 'able,' 'adaptable,' and 'powerful.' These two articles remind me that pregnant women are also vulnerable," Dr Chescheir writes. "Our very difficult job is to provide care that respects this full spectrum: to further empower women as partners in their care and to try to protect them at the same time."

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