[full of it]

Maternal death in California

Posted in Uncategorized by susieyarbs on February 4, 2010

Found through Jennifer Block’s blog, www.pushedbirth.com, I found this article about a maternal death study in California. In essence, the California Department of Health has conducted the first study showing an increase in maternal death that can’t be dismissed as “better counting of deaths.” They also found that previous culprits, like older mothers, obesity, and diabetes, only count for a fraction of the increase. The finger can now safely be pointed at clinical practices, most notably the cesarean, which now accounts for a third of all births.

Highlights (emphasis mine):

California Watch spoke with investigators who wrote the report and they confirmed the most significant spike in pregnancy-related deaths since the 1930s. Although the number of deaths is relatively small, it’s more dangerous to give birth in California than it is in Kuwait or Bosnia.

Main said scientists have started to ask what doctors are doing differently. And, he added, it’s hard to ignore the fact that C-sections have increased 50 percent in the same decade that maternal mortality increased. The task force has found that changing clinical practice could prevent a significant number of these deaths.

The best estimates show that less than 30 percent of the increase is attributable to better reporting on death certificates. Even accounting for these reporting and classification changes, the maternal death rate between 1996 and 2006 has more than doubled, Main said.

The state of California has yet to share the report with the public. Researchers say that, after reviewing the report in 2008, officials in the Department of Public Health asked for technical clarifications. Revisions were complete and approved in the first half of 2009…

For every maternal death, there are 10 near misses; for every near miss, there are 10 severe morbidity cases (such as hysterectomy, hemorrhage, or infection), and for every severe morbidity case, there is another 10 morbidity cases related to childbirth,” Camacho wrote in an e-mail.

“You don’t have to be a public health whiz to know that we are facing a big problem here,” Bingham said.

Something has to change, at some point.



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