If a mother dies in childbirth or afterward, it is certainly tragic. But the real tragedy is that over 80% of pregnancy-related fatalities could have been prevented according to data from one government review. The following are some common causes of preventable maternal mortality.
Mental health conditions
A mother’s mental health can suffer during and after pregnancy. Postpartum depression can cause a mother to feel sad and hopeless, and could even lead to suicide. Medical professionals should screen for and recognize symptoms of postpartum depression, so it can be treated.
Hemorrhaging, or excessive bleeding, can happen immediately after a woman gives birth. There are drugs that can be administered to prevent or stop hemorrhaging after childbirth, but if they are not administered the results could be fatal.
Women can develop dangerous heart conditions while pregnant. Heart conditions can cause complications during the birth process that could lead to the death of the mother. Physicians need to recognize the symptoms of heart disease in pregnancy, as many of these symptoms mimic common, more benign pregnancy complaints.
It is essential that women give birth in sterile conditions. This is true whether a woman has a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section. Unsanitary conditions or practices can lead to a fatal infection.
Disorders that cause, such as deep vein thrombosis, can develop during pregnancy and within the months following birth. If a woman with deep vein thrombosis is not provided blood thinners while pregnant, it could increase the risk of death.
Cardiomyopathy affects the heart’s ability to efficiently deliver blood to other parts of the body. It is a condition that becomes progressively worse, but it can be slowed with treatment. Unrecognized or untreated cardiomyopathy during pregnancy can cause heart failure.
Many maternal deaths can be prevented
It is a sad fact that many maternal deaths could have been prevented. The fact that they were not might point to an act of medical malpractice. If so, the mother’s surviving loved ones might have grounds for pursuing a legal claim against the physician and/or medical facility responsible for the death.