Since the early part of the 20th century, women in North Carolina and around the country have enjoyed safer childbirth experiences and significantly lower death rates. Advances in hygiene and delivery techniques have given mothers a greater chance at surviving the perinatal period than was every before seen in human history. Researchers have discovered an alarming trend, though, that points to a steady increase in maternal deaths among American women.
In 1987, about seven women out of 100,000 died in the U.S. from birth complications. Over the past few decades, the rate has climbed to over 18 maternal mortalities per 100,000 births. Studies have isolated several elements involving both lifestyle factors and medical interventions that may be contributing to the rise in deaths.
In recent years, women have been delaying childbirth until their 30s and later. Advanced maternal age comes with its own set of risks including a higher risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes. Additionally, older mothers are more likely to have pre-existing conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. The obesity epidemic that is prevalent throughout the country has also added to maternal risk. Maternal morbidity has caused the cesarean section rate to rise, and surgical deliveries comprise nearly one-third of all births. Surgery comes with its own set of risks and contributes to the increased mortality rate.
People who have lost a loved one who died during childbirth may be able to seek appropriate compensation with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. Attorneys who handle hospital negligence cases may be able to help family members find out if their loved one's death was due to mistakes caused by medical professionals.