A recently published study shows that the number of pregnancy-related deaths has increased rapidly since 2010, and it doesn’t seem like the increase is slowing down.
Experts are now scrambling to find out the possible causes of this spike in fatalities. According to the study, in 2010 there were about 18 deaths per 10.000 births. The following year, the number of casualties increased to 33. And it keeps on growing.
Texas is not an isolated case. The average mortality rate in America was around 24 in 10.000 births in 2014. To give you an idea of what that means, in 2015, the average number of pregnancy-related deaths in the UK was 6 in 10.000.
In fact, the US is one of the few countries in the world where this problem seems to be getting worse, rather than better. But Texas seems to be faring far worse.
The reasons behind this spike seem to be related more to funding and politics, and less to environmental issues.
For one thing, Texas was one of the few states that didn’t participate in the Medicaid expansion. For this reason, many clinics and women’s health programs lost funding. This lack of funds affected mostly women from low-income families. These women were already at risk when it came to health, and the loss funds only made the matter worse.
African-American women seem to be especially affected by this issue. From 2011 to 2012, 11.4% of all women who gave birth in Texas were black. And yet, African-American women accounted for 28.8% of pregnancy related deaths.
Another reason experts have mentioned is the fact that traditional family dynamics have changed. Women now tend to wait longer until they decide to have a child. Getting pregnant later in life makes the whole process more difficult, and more dangerous.
Pregnancy-Related Deaths Have an Unexpected Pattern
Some believe that part of the reason why we’re recently noticing an increase in birth mortality rates is simply the fact that we have more data on this issue now. It may be the case that number has not increased significantly, just that we’ve started paying attention to them.
However, most specialists agree this cannot be the only reason. Most agree Texas’ harsh take on family-planning clinics, and women’s healthcare is most likely the reason behind this spike.
Lack of insurance and limited access to healthcare in rural areas also contribute to make these rate go higher.
Generally, people assume that when it comes to these types of fatalities, most women die due to hemorrhages or complications during birth.
But in Texas, it seems most fatalities are related to cardiac problems. The second leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths is drug overdose.
Interestingly enough, there are many women who die long after they’ve given birth. According to the report, over half the deaths occur 6 weeks after birth.
This number seems to be linked to the way in which Medicaid works. Most births in Texas are covered by this type of insurance. But after two months, the benefits expire. It is unlikely these two figures are not related.
Experts are now urging Texas officials to take immediate action. They believe women’s health must be seen as a priority. Access to healthcare facilities and services has to be increased as quickly as possible.
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