According to a report released by the CDC today, 60% of U.S. deaths from pregnancy were found to be preventable.
“An American mom today is 50% more likely to die in childbirth than her own mother was,” said Dr. Neel Shah, a Harvard Medical School obstetrician.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists meanwhile has released new guidelines saying women should have a comprehensive heart-risk evaluation 12 weeks after delivery, but up to 40% of women don’t return for that visit and payment issues may be one reason.
Bleeding and infections used to cause most pregnancy-related deaths, but heart-related problems do now.
“Pregnancy is really a stress test” because of the extra blood the heart is moving for mom and child, said the head of the guidelines panel, Dr. James Martin. That can reveal previously unknown problems or lead to new ones.
The CDC looked at about 3,000 pregnancy-related deaths from 2011 through 2015, using death certificates. Researchers also looked at more intensive investigations of about 250 deaths done in 13 states.