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Dramatic Increase in Post-Delivery Complications, Part 1

Ohio mothers may enjoy relatively good healthcare compared to many parts of the world. A new study from the federal Centers for Disease Control, however, concluded that the rate of severe post-delivery complications has increased dramatically in Ohio and the rest of the United States in the past decade.

With these higher rates, many more mothers face injuries from birthing complications. According to the CDC's data, mid-delivery emergencies happened 75 percent more frequently between 1999 and 2009. These crises include respiratory distress, heart attacks, and hemorrhages.

Post-delivery complications became even more common with the rate increasing by more than 100 percent. Post-partum medical problems happen twice as often as they did in the 1990s.

At the current rates, 52,000 American women experience a severe delivery or post-partum complication every year. The Wall Street Journal quoted CDC chief William Callaghan: "There is a clarion call now to address the problem of maternal complications."

One demographic factor that might be driving some of the increased complication rates might be that women are having children at older ages. More women are also giving birth with obesity-related conditions and other chronic health problems. These issues definitely cannot account for all of the higher rates, however. This means that hospitals and medical experts have a lot of work to do on this issue.

Check back later for more on this topic, including a look at how some hospitals are responding to delivery complications by focusing on maternal safety.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Steep Rise of Complications in Childbirth Spurs Action," Dec. 10, 2012 

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