Pregnancy Related Deaths Have Increased Significantly And What's More, C-Sections Are A Big Contributor To The Number Of Pregnancy-Related Deaths.

Pregnancy related deaths have increased significantly and what's more, c-sections are a big contributor to the number of pregnancy-related deaths.
A news story in the Los Angeles Times today notes the results from a committee review on pregnancy-related deaths and it's not good. Pregnancy related deaths have increased significantly and what's more, c-sections are a big contributor to the number of pregnancy-related deaths. The California Pregnancy-Related and Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (CA-PAMR) committee was formed "to determine the causes of maternal mortality and to make recommendations concerning quality improvement opportunities in maternity care and public health strategies to prevent maternal deaths in California." (Source: CMQCC website) The committee found that pregnancy-related deaths nearly doubled in California in a 14 year span -- 8 deaths of per 100,000 live births in 1994 to 14 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008. Explanations for the increased number of deaths:
  • Excessive weight - a factor in one in four deaths
  • Underlying cardiovascular disease
  • Increased Cesarean sections (c-sections)
Cesarean sections were accountable for 20% of the deaths in the review. The majority of the c-sections were unplanned or emergency surgeries, carried out in an attempt to save the mom's or baby's life. However, some were also complications from prior c-sections. As a result of the review, the following was recommended:
Women need to enter pregnancy in better health, the committee concluded. On the professional side, obstetricians should increase their efforts to help women maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy and should counsel women on the risks associated with caesarean section. Doctors should be alerted to the possibility of underlying cardiovascular disease in some pregnant women and should make better use of cardiac screening tests and monitoring, the authors wrote. (Source: Los Angeles Times)
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