It’s Safer To Give Birth In Bosnia Than In California

According to a report released by the California Department of Public Health using data from 2002-2003, the rate of women dying from pregnancy-related complications is increasing at a statistically significant rate.  More than a third of these deaths seem to have been preventable.  Deaths related to pregnancy in California have risen from 8.0 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1999 to 14.0 deaths per 100,000 births in 2008.   The statistics show that giving birth in especially dangerous for African-American women, who are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in other racial groups.  Poor women are also at greater risk; more than half the women who died last year were Medi-Cal recipients.

In other words: Bosnia has a better maternal mortality rate than California.  And we’re trying to cut funding for prenatal and maternal care? 

This is a trend that has been identified repeatedly over the past ten years; I wrote about it last year, and noted that many doctors have identified the high rate of cesarean sections as a potential factor in the decreased safety in birth.  C-sections still account for almost a third of U.S. births, although a 5% to 10% rate is best for mothers and babies.  Many women get C-sections they don’t need, while others don’t have access to the potentially life-saving surgeries.

Other potential causes were unsurprising; the report found that excessive weight was a factor in one in four deaths.  The number of women who enter pregnancy overweight is a greater and greater health concern.  Cardiovascular disease was also identified as a factor in death from pregnancy-related causes, which was new to researchers, who had not previously linked the disease to maternal mortality.

Of the 36 fatalities that could probably have been prevented, the report said that health care professionals were responsible for 35.  But the report also concluded that women need to enter pregnancy in better health, but also to maintain a healthy weight and diet during pregnancy, and to be aware of the risks associated with C-sections.  The fact that poor and African-American women are disproportionately affected by maternal mortality is alarming, and signals that the last thing the federal government should be doing is pulling funding from organizations like Planned Parenthood, which help low-income women maintain a healthy pregnancy.

Take Action: Sign the petition to make California safe for new mothers.


Photo from Flickr.


Hilary E.
Hilary E.5 years ago

not if you give birth at home!

Susanne R.
Susanne R.5 years ago

James J. --So, the World Health Organization’s report was designed to “fool” people into thinking that France ranked #1. Wow! Too bad it didn’t have any other motives for such an intensive undertaking. Who knew? Other than you, that is.

I read the report, Jimmy. Evidently, you didn’t. Yes, the U.S. was cited as the most responsive of healthcare systems, and you exemplified this in your own unique way by saying that “the US is the quickest to get your busted up into pulp arse into triage.” However, their definition of “responsiveness” relative to this report consists of two major components: “These are (a) respect for persons (including dignity, confidentiality and autonomy of individuals and families to decide about their own health); and (b) client orientation (including prompt attention, access to social support networks during care, quality of basic amenities and choice of provider).” Read the report. It’s in there. I agree that our emergency responders are head and shoulders above the rest, but that’s not what the report was referring to.

A healthcare failure you didn’t cite was the fact that the U.S. does not have universal health care. This might be the biggest problem of all. If you don’t have access to healthcare, how can you possibly stay healthy? You’re right when you say that some people are overweight and don’t exercise --but that gives you no right to refer to them as “

Susanne R.
Susanne R.5 years ago

Part 2
James, J: Obviously, my response to your first post upset you. It should have, because your comments are arrogant and insulting. You referred to overweight people as “fat, lazy slobs" and implied that they were responsible for all the problems with health care in this country. In your second post, you referred to people who believe the World Health Organization's report as fools, and to me as stupid. Insults and put-downs are what people hurl when they have nothing of value to say, and I'm sure you'll prove me right by hurling even more my way. But that's okay with me. Your comments say more about you than they do about me.

Justina G.
Justina Gil5 years ago

Strange one of my best friends was born there,

James J.
James J.5 years ago

Suzanne R, you mistake health with healthcare, a rookie mistake.

You fell for the WHO report which was designed to fool stupid people into thinking France, who let 5000 people die of heatstroke, was number 1.

You need to learn to think Suzy. Read the report "The nations with the most responsive health systems are the United States"

That's right, the US is the quickest to get your busted up into pulp arse into triage. The US was also in the top on technical skill. The US failed on health, it has an unhealthy population, but that isn't a healthcare failure, it's a failure of fat lazy people to go jog or lift some weights because desperate housewives is on. The US also failed on redistribution of wealth, which has nothing to do with the skill of a doctor.

Don't be stupid, it's bad for your health.

US health care is the best in the world, and if you are 50lb overweight with type 2 diabetes it's not the health care system at fault. It's you.

ruth a.
ruth a.5 years ago

I suspect the (republican) gov't only wants children who are going to vote for them.

Susanne R.
Susanne R.5 years ago

To James J., who commented: "Actually the US is number 1 in healthcare, it's just poor in health. Too many fat slobs who let themselves go to crap make it hard on the doctors."

Actually the United States ranks 37th in the world in the area of health care --just below Costa Rica (#36) and just above Slovenia (#37). That's not just sad; it's tragic. Judging by the medical terminology you used in your comment, I think it's safe to assume that you're not a health care professional. Perhaps you should do a little research before commenting --or stop using this forum to amuse yourself.

Lilithe Magdalene

Sad. Such a lack of education for mothers-to-be. Such ignorance about diet, c sections, health and alternative birthing options. Yes, the gov't could do more, AND what does it take for people to want to bring themselves out of their own ignorance?

James J.
James J.5 years ago

Actually the US is number 1 in healthcare, it's just poor in health. Too many fat slobs who let themselves go to crap make it hard on the doctors.

Marie W.
Marie W.5 years ago

Please any correct search will show how low the US is in all areas of healthcare; and has been for years. OLD NEWS.