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Birth complications rising in the U.S.

Some may expect for the U.S. to be a leader in infant care, and as a result a strong country for maternal care. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.

While it is true that the infant mortality rate has dropped over the past decade, birth mothers in the U.S. are often subjected to care that is dangerous and life-threatening.

In fact, roughly 50,000 new mothers a year endure these conditions during and after childbirth. The U.S. also has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world - each year, 700 to 900 women die related to pregnancy or childbirth.

The complications these mothers are experiencing are often very serious. They include, among others: blood transfusions, sepsis, a need for breathing tubes and emergency hysterectomies. Having a hysterectomy is emotionally traumatizing for many mothers, as it renders them incapable of having any more children.

Better care

Research conducted by ProPublica and National Public Radio found that many of the complications U.S. mothers are experiencing are preventable or could have been alleviated through better care. The two publications cited a 2016 study of women who were admitted for delivery over a period of 30 months at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, which concluded there was an "opportunity for improvement in care" in 44 percent of life-threatening complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

One reason this may not have been treated more like an epidemic is because the rate at which mothers are nearly dying is rising much faster at which they're actually dying, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Maternal fatalities are not often investigated by hospitals and government authorities, and near-deaths are scrutinized even less.

Because there is such a gap in maternal care in the U.S. and we don't know enough about what is causing this trend in complications, the potential for medical malpractice or negligence to cause life-threatening risks to mothers is high. If you believe this was the case in a recent pregnancy or birth, there are options for seeking damages.

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