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Complications from childbirth are increasing in the U.S.

The United States currently has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country in the world. Approximately 4 million women give birth in the country every year. Of these women, 50,000 will endure serious or life-threatening complications related to their pregnancy.

Even more disturbing is the amount of pregnant women in the U.S. who die because of pregnancy or childbirth—700 to 900 per year, or about one percent of all births. Why is it that so many pregnant women are at risk of complications—or even death—in the United States?

Ineffective care

A recent study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that the medical care in nearly half of its cases of life-threatening maternal complications could have been improved. Maternal health advocates and medical professionals say that better care could have alleviated, or in some cases totally prevented, many serious complications. Conversely, poor medical care can exacerbate—or even cause—some complications.

Dismissing complications

Some mothers have felt that their medical professionals were dismissive of their concerns about medical complications. A pervasive misconception that life-threatening conditions relating to pregnancy are rare could lead some doctors to disregard the severity of their patients' pregnancy-related concerns. Many advocates for women’s health even say that the current U.S. medical system routinely disregards the wellbeing of female patients, particularly expectant mothers.

Fighting back

Fortunately, women who have experienced serious complications during pregnancy or childbirth are not without legal recourse. The same goes for the families of women who have died from preventable causes during pregnancy or childbirth. An attorney who specializes in medical malpractice may be able to seek compensation and legal justice for these women.

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