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The Risks of Maternal Injuries During Childbirth in the United States

Posted on in Maternal Injuries

Cook County maternal injury childbirth

As one of the richest countries in the world, the United States should be able to provide quality healthcare to mothers and children during the process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Unfortunately, even though medical facilities have made a serious effort to reduce birth injuries to children, the same level of care is often not provided to mothers. In fact, the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal death among developed countries, with hundreds of women dying during childbirth each year. Perhaps even more concerning, however, is the increasing rate of serious maternal injuries, known as severe maternal morbidity. These types of injuries affect mothers in more than 1 percent of all births, adding up to over 50,000 cases each year.

What Is Maternal Morbidity?

Unexpected complications during pregnancy and childbirth can result in many different types of short-term and long-term issues that affect a mother’s health. Some forms of severe maternal morbidity include:

  • Hemorrhages - A mother may suffer severe blood loss during or after childbirth for a number of reasons, including placental abruption, uterine rupture, vaginal lacerations, or other complications. In serious cases, a blood transfusion may be needed.

  • Preeclampsia - A mother may experience dangerously high blood pressure before, during, or after birth, and this can not only put the mother’s life at risk, but it can increase the likelihood of heart disease or strokes later in life.

  • Heart attacks - Women may go into cardiac arrest during or after childbirth, and in some cases, they may experience heart failure.

  • Respiratory distress - Any difficulty breathing experienced by a mother during or after birth may be the result of blood clots or fluid in the lungs or even lung failure.

  • Infections and sepsis - Infectious diseases contracted by a mother during pregnancy or birth can drastically affect her health, and they may sometimes result in sepsis, which is an inflammatory response that can cause serious damage to organs.

  • Amniotic fluid embolism - When amniotic fluid from the uterus enters a mother’s bloodstream, this can sometimes trigger an immune response that may lead to heart or lung failure.

  • Organ failure - Hemorrhaging, infections, and other complications can cause damage to organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain, and in some cases, these organs may fail completely, putting a mother’s life at risk.

  • Hysterectomy - The need to perform surgery and remove a mother’s uterus or other reproductive organs is one of the most common complications experienced after childbirth, and this will make a woman permanently unable to have children in the future.

The rate of severe maternal morbidity in the United States has more than doubled over the past 25 years. There are a variety of factors that have contributed to this increase, including a higher average age for mothers, as well as an increased risk for issues such as obesity or other chronic medical conditions. The increased use of labor induction and Cesarean deliveries that are not medically necessary may also have led to increases in complications that affect mothers’ health.

Contact a Chicago Maternal Injury Lawyer

If you have suffered injuries or other complications during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, the Birth Injury Law Alliance can help you determine the reasons these injuries occurred as well as your options for receiving financial help. Our knowledgeable and dedicated Illinois birth injury attorneys can investigate your case and provide you with the legal help you need. Contact us today at 312-462-4200 to arrange a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.propublica.org/article/severe-complications-for-women-during-childbirth-are-skyrocketing-and-could-often-be-prevented

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/childbirth-injuries-prolapse-cesarean-section-natural-childbirth/

https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/severematernalmorbidity.html

 

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