The Dangers of Motherhood

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The Dangers of Motherhood

Improving the mediocre record on maternal health in the U.S.

By Working Nurse
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Each year, the nonprofit organization Save the Children compiles a “State of the World’s Mothers” report on conditions for mothers and children in different countries. In the 2015 report, issued the week before Mother’s Day, the U.S. ranked only 33rd out of 179 nations. That’s actually worse than last year, when the United States ranked 31st overall.

High Risk

The United States scored particularly poorly in maternal safety. According to the report, U.S. mothers have a 1 in 1,800 lifetime chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth, almost three times the lifetime risk faced by Canadian mothers and 11 times the risk to Polish mothers.

In all, the results are a dismal showing for the most developed nation in the world. “This is unacceptable for women, their children, their families and society,” says American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Executive Vice President and CEO Hal C. Lawrence, M.D.

Safer Birth

Even before this year’s Save the Children report was published, four leading U.S. professional organizations — the ACOG; the American College of Nurse-Midwives; the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicines — announced a collaborative “blueprint” for improving patient safety during labor and delivery.

The blueprint focuses on improving communication among members of the healthcare team and creating environments where people are encouraged to freely express concerns. The blueprint first appeared in the April 7 issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing. The collaborators say their next step will be to create training protocols and other tools for better communication and teamwork.



Countries where it’s safer to give birth 
1.    Norway
2.    Finland
3.    Iceland
4.    Denmark
5.    Sweden
6.    Netherlands
7.    Spain
8.    Germany
9.    Australia
10.  Belgium
11.   Austria
12.   Italy
13.   Switzerland
14.   Singapore
15.   Slovenia
16.   Portugal
17.   New Zealand
18.   Israel
19.   Greece
20.   Canada
21.   Luxembourg
22.   Ireland
23.   France
24.   United Kingdom
*25.  Belarus
*25.  Czech Republic
27.    Estonia
*28.   Lithuania
*28.   Poland
*30.   Croatia
*30.   South Korea
32.    Japan
33.    USA.

*Countries are tied
Source: State of the World’s Mothers Report 2015. 

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