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Maternal mortality rising in America

Current and future Pennsylvania mothers might be alarmed to learn that overall rates of maternal mortality have been rising over the past few decades in the United States. In fact, experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the rate at which American women are dying during pregnancy or childbirth has more than doubled what it was during the 1980s.

According to maternal mortality data collected by the CDC, in 1987 less than 8 out of every 100,000 American women died during pregnancy or childbirth. This rate is in stark contrast to the approximately 18.5 pregnancy or childbirth related deaths out of every 100,000 live births recorded in 2013. Maternal mortality rate increases of this sort are typically found only in the world's poorest and least developed countries, such as South Sudan and Afghanistan.

One possible explanation for this disturbing trend involves the high numbers of cesarean sections performed in the United States on mothers giving birth. In roughly a third of childbirths, doctors may recommend women to undergo a C-section procedure, which requires invasive surgery, antibiotics and anesthesia. These complex medical procedures may increase the possibility of birth injuries in some cases. Experts with the federal Health Resources and Services Administration believe the number of C-section procedures should be reduced in order to avoid many of the potential risks and complications associated with virtually any form of invasive surgery.

Women who have been injured during the delivery process may want to consult with an attorney. If hospital negligence can be demonstrated, an attorney may be able to obtain compensation for the victim through the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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