Prenatal care is an important factor in having a healthy pregnancy and successful delivery. Pennsylvania mothers may be surprised to know that the U.S. is actually seeing a rise in the maternal mortality rate. One might assume that modern technology would allow for a reduction in maternal deaths, but since 1987, the rate has climbed from eight to 18.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 births. Only eight nations in the period from 2003 to 2013 experienced increased rates, making this a matter of major concern to those who monitor these statistics. In fact, the CDC even reports that these statistics may be a bit low.
An issue that may account for some of this increase is the rising age at which women are getting pregnant. Women at or over the age of 35 represent nearly one-third of the deaths related to childbirth from 2006 to 2010. However, childbirth-related deaths are not increasing in other nations that are experiencing a similar rise in the number of older women giving birth. Another significant concern is the general health of new mothers. It is believed that high levels of obesity, diabetes and hypertension may be contributing to the rising rate or maternal deaths.
Efforts in California, however, may provide a clue for once again bringing maternal death statistics down. The state has addressed causes that are preventable, including obstetric hemorrhage and preeclampsia. By developing protocols for dealing with these conditions, it has seen its maternal death rate drop to just six per 100,000 births.
A family dealing with the consequences of a maternal death involving a preventable condition might consider medical negligence litigation to address the medical errors and their consequences. A lawyer might seek both punitive and non-punitive damages on behalf of a client who is suffering financially and emotionally because of such a death.