America’s Problem With Maternal Mortality

Woman in hospital crying with tech in the background

The impending birth of a child is usually met with feelings of joy. However, for many mothers, being pregnant or giving birth is frightening because it could mean severe injuries or even maternal mortality.

Maternal mortality is when a woman dies while pregnant, giving birth, or shortly after giving birth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates around 700 women in the U.S. die each year while pregnant or because of complications during delivery. The CDC also found about three in five maternal mortality cases could have been prevented.

Equally devastating is that the CDC found American Indian/Alaska Native and Black women are up to two to three more likely to die because of a pregnancy-related issue compared to white women.

Below we outline some of the most common reasons why maternal mortality occurs.

Medical Complications

There is no single complication that causes women to die while pregnant or while giving birth. However, the CDC found the following four complications make up about 75% of all maternal mortality cases.

Delivery Complications

Not all delivery complications are fatal. But issues that may not seem like a problem at first can become deadly.

Prolonged Labor

Prolonged labor is described as one lasting more than 20 hours if it’s a woman’s first delivery and 14 hours if it is not her first. Physical factors such as a small birth canal and slow dilation are some reasons why prolonged labor can occur. Emotional factors like being stressed, scared, or exhausted from trying to deliver can also prolong labor.

If prolonged labor occurs during the early or latent phase, then there are usually no severe complications. However, if a woman is in the active labor phase, then she may need medical attention.

Uterine Rupture

This can happen when a woman previously had a cesarean section (c-section) and then vaginal delivery in a subsequent birth. During that delivery, the c-section scar could open and present problems for both the mother and baby. Doctors usually recommend mothers who want to have a vaginal delivery after previously having a c-section should plan to give birth in a medical facility (not at home) in case medical attention is needed.

Blood Pressure Complications

There are two types of blood pressure complications that can be deadly for a pregnant woman or new mother.


This is when the mother has dangerously high blood pressure. Left untreated, the mother could experience liver and kidneys failure. For that reason, it’s extremely important that hospital staff constantly monitor the mother’s health and ensure it is in safe parameters throughout the delivery.


This is an extreme complication of pre-eclampsia. In addition to high blood pressure, a mother with eclampsia could also have seizures or loss of consciousness. Like pre-eclampsia, the best way to treat this condition is to deliver the baby.


After delivery, many new mothers are exhausted and are at a greater risk of developing an infection. The feeling of what her body just went through may mask a potential infection that can be fatal.

Some of the most common infections women get after childbirth are:

  • Upper respiratory
  • Urinary
  • Uterine
  • Wound

If treated quickly, these infections can be eliminated. Most doctors will provide an antibiotic to treat the infection or additional care that can be taken done in the hospital. However, if an infection is not identified and treated, it can advance and potentially lead to deadly conditions such as a pulmonary embolism, sepsis, or septic shock.

Severe Bleeding

A woman’s body naturally bleeds after childbirth. Severe bleeding occurs when a woman loses more than two pints of blood or begins having complications such as low blood pressure, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and a rapid heart rate.

The Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier, P.A.

If a loved one passed because of a pregnancy or delivery issue due to a physician’s negligence, the Miami medical malpractice lawyers at Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier, P.A. are here for you. We have recovered millions of dollars for our medical malpractice clients. During what was supposed to be a joyous time, we will fight so you can be properly compensated.

Contact our team of birth injury lawyers today at (305) 900-5493.

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