Rising Maternal Deaths

By: Liz Tedone
By: Liz Tedone

Knoxville (WVLT) - More moms are dying in childbirth. And there are a number of factors that may be the cause.

WVLT Volunteer TV’s Liz Tedone spoke with a local ob-gyn to get some perspective on the latest statistics.

There are two major concerns that may explain the latest numbers from the national center for health statistics. Thirteen out of every 100,000 moms are dying in childbirth.

“Some have postulated that it's due to, at least partially due to increased obesity in our population and the increased chance of women having a cesarean section,” says Dr. Lionel McCollum.

While the number of maternal deaths may seem low, the issues that possibly contribute to those numbers are a big concern.

Almost half of all women are either overweight or obese when they get pregnant. The excess weight can contribute to a host of health issues including diabetes and hypertension. And studies show bigger women tend to have bigger babies which can ultimately force a cesarean section delivery.

Meanwhile the C-section delivery rate is on the rise, especially repeat procedures instead of vaginal births after cesarean or "VBAC."

“It's not as popular now as it was a few years ago. There were a few deaths around the country from VBAC complications. Repeating cesarean sections more now,” says Dr. McCollum.

While an exact cause is not clear, altogether health officials consider the rising maternal death rate to be low

The maternal death rate started climbing in 2004, for the first time since 1977.

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