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In wealthy, developed countries all over the world, childbirth is becoming safer for mothers everywhere -- except in the United States. In the U.S., maternal death rates are soaring -- actually rising from the year 2000 to the year 2014.
If you're considering a pregnancy or are pregnant, this is what you should know:
Mothers in the United States are Dying
Right now, pregnancy and childbirth are so dangerous for U.S. women that some states, like Texas, are extending or putting together task forces to try to figure out why. Right now, all that anyone knows for certain is that childbirth-related deaths are falling around the rest of world. Great Britain's maternal death rate is so low that one journal noted that a pregnant woman's partner is at greater risk of dying than she is during the pregnancy. On the other hand, pregnant women and new mothers in this country are three times more likely to die than those in Canada and six times more likely than those in Scandinavia.
It Doesn't Have to Happen
You shouldn't let the statistics scare you away from pregnancy and childbirth, however. Instead, it should motivate you to understand the reasons why women are dying. The answer includes the following:
It's already been proven that proper attention to the well-being of the mother both during the pregnancy and after can significantly alter the statistics. In California, for example, programs that have focused on maternal health -- as opposed to just the infant's health -- have begun to reverse the trend and made it one of the safest states to give birth.
Pick the Right Obstetrician
Knowing what the problems are is one of the best ways to defeat them. If you want to avoid putting yourself at risk, make sure that you pick your obstetrician with care.
Sure, you want an obstetrician who is concerned about your baby's welfare -- that little guy or girl in there is absolutely precious --but you also want to make certain that you choose a doctor that is equally focused on your health. Look for a doctor that emphasizes patient education, welcomes questions, and who won't take shortcuts (like scheduling a C-Section to fit his or her schedule without a really good reason).
Also, take the time to tour the hospital where you'll be giving birth. Are you happy with the delivery units? Are you comfortable with the staff and the level of attention that's given to both the new mothers and the babies? If not, talk to your obstetrician about the situation early to see what can be done.