Friday, May 14, 2010

Maternal Mortality On the Rise

Moms are dying in childbirth. I'm not just talking about the "third world," but here in the United States. Women are dying. California Watch reports that the death rate for mothers in California has tripled in the past decade and the "dangers of obesity" plus the rapid increase in the cesarean section rate are suggested culprits.

This is a big deal, folks. Women are dying in increasing numbers...not the other way around. One of the most chilling sections of the article, for me, was this: "it’s hard to ignore the fact that C-sections have increased 50 percent in the same decade that maternal mortality increased. The task force has found that changing clinical practice could prevent a significant number of these deaths."

In other words, if our society stopped pressuring mothers into cesarean sections that were not medically necessary, fewer women might die.

And if the death toll doesn't alarm you, other risk factors should. Increasing numbers of women are slipping through cesarean delivery within an inch of their lives. The article quotes California's Center for Family Health deputy director Catherine Camacho as saying, “For every maternal death, there are 10 near misses; for every near miss, there are 10 severe morbidity cases (such as hysterectomy, hemorrhage, or infection), and for every severe morbidity case, there is another 10 morbidity cases related to childbirth.”

The bottom line is that a cesarean section is a big deal. People make the operation out to be "no big thing," or a "quick and easy" procedure. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's major abdominal surgery. Without question, cesarean sections save lives of moms and babies, but this operation should not be taken lightly.

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