Childbirth is supposed to be a beautiful moment. While it may be painful and stressful, you ultimately hope for it to be an awe-inspiring and life-changing moment. Unfortunately, not all births go this way. Some mothers die during pregnancy or childbirth.

According to the CDC, approximately 700 women die every year in the U.S. because of delivery or pregnancy problems. Disturbingly, this rate is higher than other developed nations. Here are some of the most common causes of maternal deaths:

1. Failure to diagnose or treat hemorrhage or preeclampsia

Two of the most common delivery complications are hemorrhage and preeclampsia. A postpartum hemorrhage occurs when the mother bleeds heavily after giving birth. Preeclampsia is a condition with serious symptoms such as high blood pressure and organ damage. If a doctor does not promptly detect and treat these conditions, the mother may die. 

2. Cesarean births

While c-section deliveries are sometimes necessary and helpful, they may also cause harm. There is a rise in c-section births that may be contributing to mothers dying. This intensive procedure may cause harm to mothers and babies even if a death does not occur. If a doctor makes a mistake while performing a c-section, the consequences may be deadly. 

3. Racial disparities

Sadly, race may be a matter of life or death when it comes to childbirth. Black mothers are four times more likely to die during pregnancy and delivery than their white counterparts. 

4. Inconsistent access to health care

Not every woman has access to quality medical care. When expecting mothers are not able to get the proper treatment they deserve, issues are more likely to arise.

5. Doctor malpractice

Sometimes, doctors are outright negligent during childbirth procedures. In some cases, doctors administer the wrong medications, make anesthesia errors or perforate organs during a c-section. Some doctors may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while giving medical care.

The death of a woman during childbirth is tragic. Surviving family members should speak with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney to determine if legal action is warranted.