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Maternal deaths preventable

40% of maternal deaths in childbirth preventable

The National Center for Health Statistics announced that the maternal death rate in the United States has risen to its highest rate in decades, and experts say that 40% of all such deaths are preventable, according to a report from CBS News. According to the statistics released on August 21, 2007, the maternal death rate has risen to 13 deaths per 100,000 live births. The maternal death rate has risen steadily since 1977, from less than 10 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Researchers blame the rising cesarean section rate, which has risks related to blood clots, anesthesia and infections, as well as maternal obesity for the increase. Obese women carry an increased risk of diabetes and other complications, and often have larger babies that have complicated deliveries. Maternal age may also be a factor, as more women in their 30s and 40s have babies.

Three different studies indicate that at least 40% of maternal deaths could have been prevented.

A copy of the NCHS article is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr55_19.pdf. A copy of the CBS News report is available at www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/24/health/main3202083.shtml.

Keith CrossJoe Bennett
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