America has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed nation in the world. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation (CDC), over 700 women die each year in the United States from pregnancy-related complications. Additionally, 65,000 more pregnant women almost die.
Researchers calculate the maternal mortality rate by the number of women who die while pregnant, during delivery or within 42 days of childbirth. In the United States, around 26.4 mothers die for every 100,000 live births. The next closest country is the United Kingdom with 9.2 deaths, whereas Finland is as low as 3.8 deaths.
If you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, consider the following ways you can keep yourself safe during pregnancy:
1. Take care of your mental health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a real issue that affects around 1 in 7 women after childbirth. It can begin days, weeks or months after delivering your baby. Don't wait until it happens. Talk to your doctor before giving birth about the symptoms of PPD, and make an appointment with a mental health professional to see before and after your baby is born.
2. Schedule regular check-up appointments
Pregnancy-related deaths do not just occur during delivery. Women can experience high-blood pressure during their pregnancy or contract an infection in the days and weeks that follow a delivery. For that reason, it is extremely important to attend regular check-up appointments with your doctor during and after your pregnancy, and make sure to advocate for yourself if you believe something is wrong.
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Over 20 percent of pregnant women in the United States are obese. Obesity can lead to diabetes, seizures, strokes and other fatal health conditions during a pregnancy. Obesity can also increase the risk for a woman to need a cesarean delivery (C-section). Studies have found the maternal mortality rate for a C-section delivery is much higher than with a vaginal birth.
Tragically, over 60 percent of childbirth-related deaths are preventable. If you or someone you loved experienced pregnancy-related complications, speak with an experienced attorney in your area today.