Giving birth in itself can be very dangerous in and of itself. There are some many factors that make up having a successful delivery. The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world; yet, according to a new USA Today investigation, the United States has been deemed the “most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth.”
Mortality rates for mothers have skyrocketed within the last 30 years due to high rates of death among mothers due to negligence by hospitals, doctors, and nurses who are not performing simple tasks like checking blood loss after delivery and monitoring high blood pressure.
“In twenty-first century America, in the most powerful nation on Earth, no woman should ever die from pregnancy and childbirth,” Michael Lu, Senior Associate Dean at George Washington University School of Public Health and Former Director of Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, previously told PEOPLE Magazine.
The study, led by Alison Young, discovered that, despite the many medical advances, more than 50,000 women are severely injured during childbirth each year, with 700 of those dying since the 1990s. Among these statistics, the largest ethnic group to suffer the largest extremes in the quality of care are women of color and women of low socioeconomic backgrounds. Sadly, African American women are three times more likely to die from complications during delivery and pregnancy as compared to their Caucasian counterparts, “a gap we have not been able to close in decades,” commented Lu. “A study in New York City estimated that the rate of life-threatening complications would fall by half if African American women gave birth at the same hospitals as white women.”
Is there a solution that will bring about a change? Well, according to Lu, the answer lies within something that he and his colleagues have instituted and developed in California called, “safety bundles.”
“Safety bundles are best practices, protocols, toolkits and other resources designed to improve the quality and safety of maternity care by improving the 4 R’s: readiness, recognition, response and reporting,” Lu explained at a recent Congressional briefing.
California leads the nation where maternal mortality rates have not risen but fallen. Additionally, by utilizing these “safety bundles” between 2016-2012, Lu and his team have seen overall rates decrease by 64 percent and by 50 percent for African American women. It seems as if Lu is on to something that the rest of the country needs to tune-in to, not only for the safety of our mothers but for the assurance of the next generation.