Maternal Mortality Essay

2077 words - 9 pages

Maternal Mortality in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract
This paper will examine maternal mortality in both the United State and Sub-Saharan Africa and present statistical information for both areas. Women die of avoidable complications in childbirth each year. Reduction in deaths, due to maternal mortality in the United States has dropped and has been stable for the past twenty years, which has led the United States to expand maternal mortality to include homicide. Sub-Saharan Africa cannot boast these same statistics. Over half the maternal mortalities that occur annually happen in Sub-Saharan Africa. While there is still need for improvement in the United States, there ...view middle of the document...

From the information gathered, worldwide, the United States ranked forty-first in the world for maternal mortality. This means that one in every 4,800 women will die from a complication. In the United States, the most common cause of maternal mortality is preeclampsia, which is a form of toxemia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension (high-blood pressure). With obesity, as well as, diabetes and high blood pressure on the rise, this may account for the greater frequency of preeclampsia as well as other pregnancy complication. Other direct causes of maternal mortality include "hemorrhage, embolism infection, and complications from pre-existing medical conditions" (World Health Statistical Report, Maternal Mortality Rates, 2007).
Racial and economic differences in the healthcare system may be a primary reason for maternal mortality. "Four times more Black women die from pregnancy, deliver prematurely, or produce more low-weight babies than White women in the United States" (Tucker, Berg, Callaghan, & Hsia, 2007). The increased risk of pregnancy-related death was unrelated to age, status, or education. Black women are also more likely to die from complication of pregnancy, including "hemorrhage, hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, and cardiomyopathy" (Tucker, Berg, Callaghan, & Hsia, 2007). It is unclear why Black women, who have access to prenatal exams, doctor visits, and hospitals, have excess mortality. There is, however, evidence that Black women with low income, low educational achievement, being uninsured, and having poor access to healthcare are associated with the probability of, higher than average, maternal mortality (Tucker, Berg, Callaghan, & Hsia, 2007).
Rural residents also face challenges that city residents do not, that of fewer physicians, fewer free or low cost clinics, and they are more likely to travel long distances to obtain health care, which usually leads to fewer visits. Community Health Advisors are trying to educate rural areas by training a group of community health advisors. This group will teach the public, in a peer-model program, on behaviors, such as, eating properly and adding more activity to their life, with the hopes of lowering hypertension, and obesity, which will not only help maternal mortality, but everyone in the community (Tucker, Berg, Callaghan, & Hsia, 2007).
The United States is monitoring maternal mortality in an area not yet monitored in other parts of the world, that of pregnancy-associated homicide. Studies began on this topic in the early nineties; however, it has only recently come to the forefront of the Maternal Mortality Profession. The reason for the shift of interest was in response to women's rights groups and highly publicized cases such as the Laci Peterson case. The Maternal Mortality Profession defines pregnancy-related homicide as, "that which was attributed to homicide as the cause death and occurred during or within one year of pregnancy (Chang, Berg, Saltzman, & Herndon...

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