Childbirth-related deaths have been rising in Oklahoma and across the United States for the past 25 years. Meanwhile, maternal deaths have been falling in much of the rest of the world. In fact, the U.S. was one of only eight other countries, including South Sudan and Afghanistan, to experience an increase in such deaths between 2003 and 2013.
There are a few theories as to what is causing the increase in maternal deaths. Some experts believe that the U.S. is just better at tracking such data than it used to be. Others think that older mothers, who have riskier pregnancies, may be skewing the statistics. For instance, women over the age of 35 made up around 15 percent of live births between 2006 and 2010, but accounted for 27 percent of pregnancy-related deaths. Cesarean sections have also become more common, and surgeries always increase the chances of complications.
Overall, experts believe the top culprit behind the rise in maternal death rates is that more mothers are in poor health when they get pregnant and do not obtain proper medical care. An increasing number of pregnant women now suffer from chronic health conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, that make pregnancy and childbirth more dangerous. To combat this issue, health care professionals are working to improve treatment of the conditions that most often cause maternal death, including severe hypertension, venous thromboembolism and obstetric hemorrhage.
Oklahoma women who experience medical professional negligence during pregnancy or childbirth may benefit by consulting with an attorney. After reviewing the patient's medical records and discussing the matter with experts, legal counsel may suggest filing a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.