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Pregnancy Death Rate in California Higher Than That of Bosnia

California boasts three of the nation's leading hospitals in gynecology including UCSF, Stanford, and UCLA, but the state's most accomplished medical facilities aside, the death rate directly related to pregnancy is higher than that of Bosnia and Kuwait. A recent report said:

In 2006, 95 California women died from causes directly related to their pregnancies — out of more than 500,000 live births. That's a small number by public health standards. But if California had met the goal set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to bring the state's maternal mortality rate down to a level achieved by other countries, the number of dead would have been closer to 28.

The article cited possible factors being morbid obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and hemorrhaging from C-sections. Elective induction without medical reason was also mentioned. Does this statistic alarm you or do you think it's still too small for concern?

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Join The Conversation
the-kiki the-kiki 6 years
Yes, home birth and attendants should be thoroughly researched if that is the choice a woman is making. However, this article cited nothing about home birth or home-birth related statistics. As a very well-researched home-birther, I would love to see your stats for making assumptions or guesses as to how that might be affecting the numbers from this study or where you're hearing of a trend in midwives keeping patients at home. Certified midwives are trained specifically to note any sign of complication and to transfer at those signs, or at the mother's urging, or even suggest transfer if the mother seems tired and stressed in a way that an epidural might help. I cannot speak to unassisted home birth, but that is a completely separate issue from a planned home birth with a certified midwife and should not be lumped together any more than an unplanned birth in the back of a car on the way to the hospital should. The comments that have been made previously were in regards to what this post (and the cited article) explicitly stated--not on personal thoughts of what might have added to these numbers. If you have actual researched articles (from respected journals, not internet sites or simple editorials) that show how planned home birth with a certified midwife in any way increased risks of any kind, I'd be interested to see it, as every major study that has been done on this kind of home birth has found that the outcomes are usually better for both maternal and infant mortality, as well as avoiding complications and major surgery. I don't think that this article necessarily condemns hospitals, but simply points to the fact that using certain procedures when unnecessary can result in negative outcomes for women. That's not the only factor, but the article itself cites that as a cause. Let's stick to what research shows and what the article states.
PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 6 years
#3, emily s.: where in oc did you give birth? what hospital, in what city? i live in oc and have a pregnant sister in law.
HoneyBrown1976 HoneyBrown1976 6 years
I agree anon #4. I let natural run its course. No elective birthing from me. It's sad, though.
the-kiki the-kiki 6 years
I think that one preventable deaths is too many. And having women die or suffer consequences (or have the baby suffer consequences) for actions such as elective induction or unnecessary C-section is a very sad fact. When used correctly, the technology we have can save lives. When applied where it doesn't need to be applied, it can have serious consequences. We should not be having a higher mortality rate BECAUSE of our medical prowess--it should be lower. Very sad.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
I was shocked at first when I read the headline.... but after factoring in obesity and blood pressure and (type 2?) diabetes, I'm not too shocked. Americans have so much to be grateful for, but too many of us just gorge ourselves on it and don't think twice. That being said, a preventable death is a preventable death, and I certainly hope these women and doctors are successful in working together to reduce this death rate.
Daisy-Duke Daisy-Duke 6 years
I'm alarmed! I live in California!
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