Despite having one of the most advanced and well-developed medical systems in the world, the United States frequently fails pregnant women and their unborn babies. Maternal mortality in the United States is higher than it is in other developed nations, an issue that policymakers and medical professionals alike struggle to understand and address.
Careful monitoring and proactive care are critical to positive outcomes during pregnancy, but doctors may overlook important signs, especially if they don’t offer comprehensive prenatal and post-partum care. There are three particular risks that your doctor should be able to identify and reduce during your pregnancy, during your labor and after the birth of your child.
Your doctor needs to watch you for pre-existing and acquired conditions
If you already have a serious medical condition, such as diabetes, pregnancy will pose a higher risk for you and your baby. Identifying and tracking pre-existing conditions early in pregnancy can help set a mother up for the best possible outcome.
Additionally, doctors need to invest time and effort into the careful screening of patients for common conditions developed during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
What are the biggest risk factors for expectant and new mothers?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three primary causes for many maternal deaths in the United States. The largest single contributing factor to maternal death involves a mother dealing with heart disease or stroke. These conditions cause about 34% of all maternal deaths.
The two other leading causes of maternal death are infections and severe bleeding. Monitoring a woman for cardiovascular concerns during pregnancy and after delivery can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Clean facilities, diligent follow-up care and attention to both mother and infant can reduce the risk of bleeding and infection.
The CDC estimates that about three out of every five deaths during pregnancy were preventable with proper medical care. If your family has suffered a loss because of improper medical monitoring during pregnancy — whether that inadequate care cost the life of a spouse, the life of a baby or the health of that child in the form of a birth injury — it may be possible to bring a malpractice claim against the physician or hospital involved in the substandard care.