What to Know: Maternal Mortality Rates
According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) over three years, Georgia has the eighth-highest maternal mortality rate at 28.8.
- Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) refers to the number of pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births.
- Pregnancy-Related Death refers to the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy from a pregnancy complication, a chain of events initiated by pregnancy, or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.
- Pregnancy-Related Mortality Rate (PRMR), not to be confused with MMR, refers to the number of pregnancy-related deaths across races per 100,000 live births.
Maternal Mortality Rates: Location, Age, & Education
There are approximately 700 pregnancy-related deaths annually in the U.S.. Beyond preexisting medical conditions and access to quality healthcare, race plays a significant part in pregnancy-related deaths. When comparing the PRMR of women from different races by state, age, and education level, the CDC found the following:
- Controlled for Location: Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women are 2 to 3 times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.
- Controlled for Age: Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women over 30 years old were 4 to 5 times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women their age.
- Controlled for Degree: Black women with at least one college degree were 5 times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women their age.
What You Can Do: At the Doctor’s Office
Choosing a Doctor
When choosing an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), you will need to keep several things in mind:
- Find OB-GYNs in your network to know what health insurance coverage to expect. You can typically find a list of in-network doctors to choose from on your insurance provider’s website.
- Research the OB-GYN’s reviews. Whether the reviews you receive are word-of-mouth from friends and family or left online on the doctor’s profile, reviews will help to paint a picture of the quality of care you will receive and the experience you will have.
- Research the OB-GYN’s credentials. Researching an OB-GYN’s credentials will give you a better understanding of their history and specialties. For example, if you are diabetic and pregnant, or develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, finding an OB-GYN specializing in diabetic pregnancies could be important.
- Do not feel locked in. Say you find the perfect OB-GYN on paper, schedule your first appointment, and something feels off. Give yourself permission to find a new one. While it will require extra work to find a new OB-GYN, you want to make sure that you trust your OB-GYN to give you the highest quality of care and answer any questions you might have.
Write Things Down
Medical appointments, whether pregnancy-related or not, can be overwhelming, covering a lot of information in a relatively short time. Write down any questions or concerns you have before the appointment, information you learned during the appointment, and any relevant actions you need to take after the appointment.
What You Can Do: At Home
Nutritional Dos and Don’ts
Keep the following nutritional dos and don’ts in mind, and talk to your doctor to get a customized nutritional plan in place, as the following may not be the best practice for you.
- Prenatal Vitamins: Prenatal vitamins can help prevent birth defects and promote healthy growth and development for both mother and child throughout pregnancy. Read more about prenatal vitamins recommended by the CDC here.
- Mindful Eating: While pregnant, you need to consume more protein, iron, calcium, folic acid, and calories. During pregnancy, you are not truly eating for two. However, the foods you eat directly impact your baby's nutrients. Eating balanced meals with your baby’s health in mind is the best practice.
- Stay Hydrated: Do not forget to increase your water intake! Chronic dehydration can lead to constipation, hemorrhoids, excessive swelling, UTIs, and premature or early labor.
- Medication Management: Talk to your doctor about what prescriptions you should stop, pause, or reduce while trying to get pregnant, pregnant, and breastfeeding.
- Quit: smoking, marijuana use, and illegal drug usage.
- Reduce: caffeine consumption.
- Minimize: alcohol consumption.
Remaining active while pregnant yields numerous physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. The average healthy pregnant woman should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity per week.
Rest & Relaxation
Pregnancy is hard on the human body. Make sure to give yourself and your body plenty of time to rest, relax, and repair while pregnant. Not getting adequate sleep while pregnant can lead to several problems.
Prenatal, Birthing, & Postpartum Education
Ideally, your doctor will educate you on what to expect, look for, be aware of, and what you should know when pregnant, giving birth, and postpartum. Unfortunately, for various reasons, doctors do not always take the time to properly educate and prepare their patients, resulting in avoidable and preventable education gaps and accidents.
The following list is not an exhaustive list of resources or topics but is intended to give you a place to begin your research so you can make informed decisions:
- Pre-Pregnancy Resources
- Prenatal Resources
- Birthing Resources
- Postpartum Resources
- General Pregnancy-Related Resources
Complex Medical Cases Require Experienced Lawyers
Even when you do everything right, devastating accidents can still injure the mother and baby pre-, during, and post-birth. At The Mabrey Firm, our medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys have extensive experience pursuing cases against healthcare professionals and organizations.
Attorney John Mabrey is board certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. This distinction places him in a select few among medical malpractice attorneys throughout the entire state of Georgia. Attorney Carla Mabrey previously represented physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies before dedicating her practice to the representation of victims of medical negligence.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a medical provider’s negligence, contact us today at (404) 814-5098 or fill out our short confidential online form for a free case evaluation.