New research shows that up to 4 out of 5 pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.
Pregnancy is oftentimes known as a time in a woman’s life that is blissful and happy but that is not always the case. Although healthcare has advanced by leaps and bounds since the Middle Ages, pregnancy can still be dangerous. Some of the dangers of pregnancy are unavoidable while others can be avoided with early identification and treatment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released some alarming data in September 2022 related to pregnancy-related deaths.
According to the data, more than 80% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.1 This number is alarming. In a letter introducing the Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crises, Vice President Kamala Harris wrote, “Far too many women experience pain, neglect, and loss during what should be one of the most joyous times of their lives.”2
The study found that 53% of pregnancy-related deaths happen between seven days and one year after delivery, 22% of pregnancy-related deaths happened during pregnancy, and 25% happen on the day of delivery or up to a week afterward.1 The most common causes of pregnancy-related deaths were broken down into percentages.
- Mental Health Conditions (suicide, substance abuse, etc.) – 23%
- Hemorrhage – 14%
- Infection – 9%
- Thrombotic Embolism – 9%
- Cardiomyopathy – 9%
- High Blood Pressure Disorders – 7%1
This data is disturbing because a large number of these deaths are preventable. Previous data has shown that the United States (US) has much higher rates of pregnancy-related deaths compared to other countries. In the US, black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.2
These worrisome numbers need to improve. The CDC stated that everyone can help prevent pregnancy-related deaths by being aware of pregnancy-related complications, listening to the concerns of pregnant and postpartum women, and getting them professional help if needed.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 19). Four in 5 pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 20, 2022
- McPhillips, D. (2022, September 20). 4 out of 5 pregnancy-related deaths in the US are preventable, CDC finds. CNN. Retrieved October 20, 2022
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