Roundup: It’s Good To Be Pregnant, Unless You’re Here

Robin Marty

Maternal mortality rates are rising in the U.S. while they decline in other countries.  How does that happen?

It defies common sense, but in a recent study from Lancet Journal, the facts cannot be ignored: first world countries have a maternal mortality problem.

British women are more likely to die in childbirth than those in the former communist state of Slovenia, new research has shown.

Just as many British women are dying in pregnancy and childbirth as they were 20 years ago, according to a study in the Lancet.

It blames the high death rate on a rise in obesity which can cause complications, the growing number of older mothers and the high immigrant population, who often attend antenatal classes later.

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Eight out of every 100,000 pregnant women die shortly before, during or after giving birth in the UK.

The UK’s death rate is worse than that of Albania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

And it is twice that of Italy, which is the lowest in the world.

After Italy, the safest countries in the world to give birth are Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia.

While the majority of Western European countries have seen a drop in their death rates between 1990 and 2008, Britain’s has remained stagnant.

Our languishing death rate contrasts strikingly with those seen in the developing world, where death rates are falling rapidly among women in childbirth.

Globally the number of childbirth deaths has dropped from more than 500,000 a year in 1980 to 343,000 a year in 2008.

Sadly, North America is in the same boat, according to the study.

Deaths of women in and around childbirth have gone down by an average of 35 percent globally, but are surprisingly high in the United States, Canada and Norway, researchers reported on Monday.   

Here are some statistics from the study by Dr. Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, published in the Lancet medical journal.


* Maternal mortality is defined as the death of women during pregnancy, childbirth or in the 42 days after delivery.


* The maternal mortality rate rose 42 percent in the United States, from 12 per 100,000 in 1980 to 17 per 100,000 in 2008.

  * Canada’s rate fluctuated between seven and six and was seven per 100,000 in 2008.

Want a stark look at the difference between the United States and other countries?  This graph makes it very clear how big the problem is.

On the one hand, these statistics help us see that the work being done to provide healthier pregnancies in other countries is truly working.  But although rising rates in mortality in this country and England can be attributed in some parts to advanced maternal age and rising obesity rates, there is also an elephant in the closet no one wants to address — our country’s new approach to putting politics over prenatal health. 

From Nebraska’s recent removal of prenatal care to low income women, to Arizona’s state funding cuts to programs that provide care to pregnant addicts, more and more states are seeing prenatal care for “less deserving” as an appropriate place to trim costs.  At the same time, they then allow targeted anti-choice interests to attack groups that do provide, among other services, prenatal care and reproductive assistance, in the name of “shutting off abortion.”

Maybe when we care about mothers as much as we claim to care about the “babies” our rates will start to decline as well.

Mini Roundup: You think I’m all serious and no fun?  How about some Lady Gaga celebacy links to prove otherwise?

April 12, 2010

What Bart Stupak Got Right – The Nation

Plemmons: Abortion bills aim to protect, not restrict pregnant women –

“National Battle” Looms for Stupak’s House Seat – The New American

Vanishing abortion rights – Albany Times Union

Critics call Pawlenty’s Abortion Recovery Month ‘pure politics’ – Minnesota Independent

King, Bachmann co-opt abortion rights message to attack health reform – Iowa Independent

Stupak will retire, cites health reform law as main accomplishment – U.S. Catholic magazine

The New Health-Care Fight: Abortion Coverage in State Exchanges – Newsweek

Rep. Stupak to retire from House – USA Today

New pre-abortion requirements passed in Neb. – Washington Post

3rd Circuit revives group’s fight for NJ ‘Choose Life’ plates – First Amendment Center

‘Abortion Recovery Month’ – Politico

Abuse and abortion – Salt Lake Tribune

Abortion doctor loses medical license for terminating the wrong fetus –

Nebraska: Pre-Abortion Screening Approved – New York Times

Bridgeport Diocese Fights to Protect “Property,” But What About the Children? – Huffington Post

Boccieri doesn’t back down from health care vote – Canton Repository

Abortion Clinic Anesthetist Accused of Infecting 12 Women with Hepatitis C – Lifesite

Kirsten Johnson: Can Southworth be that naive? –

Infertility comes with costs, challenges – Tampa Tribune

Associate Prof fired due to second child – Global Times

Family planning efforts to be intensified – New Vision

Putting Gaia On The Pill – Atlantic Online

Lady Gaga Tells Fans: ‘Don’t Have Sex’ – People Magazine

Lady Gaga shocker: ‘I don’t have sex’ (video) –

Mother’s Day cervical cancer awareness –

FACTBOX: Maternal deaths down in poor countries, up in U.S. – Reuters India

British women more likely to die in childbirth than those in former communist … – Daily Mail

April 13, 2010

Health care law likely to result in increased abortion numbers  – In-Forum

Amendment would strengthen abortion coercion legislation –

Abortion Split Shades Michigan Race –

Dubious of Obama’s intent on abortions – Chicago Daily Herald

Hoekstra: Stupak made ‘tragic mistake’ backing Obama health reform; voters … – The Saginaw News –

Media, Groups Reflect On Justice Stevens’ Liberal Legacy – Medical News Today

Antiabortion-Rights Advocates ‘Keep Hammering Away’ At Rights, Opinion Piece Says – Medical News Today

Manatee County shifts its sex-ed approach – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

No sex life, no problem for Gaga – Metro Canada – Vancouver

AIDS Drug Access Bill Clears Key Florida Legislative Committee, Notes AHF –

Lady Gaga urges fans not to have sex – Gaea Times

HIV/Aids among military forces alarming, says President Kikwete – The Citizen Daily

Debate about scrapped HIV vaccination centre hits health committee – Vancouver Sun

Gilead Sciences starts HIV ‘quad’ test – San Francisco Business Times

Programs that help mothers, children may be in jeopardy – Arizona Republic

Fewer women dying in pregnancy, childbirth –

Maternal mortality: how many women die in childbirth in your country? – The Guardian (blog)

New mothers in Jersey to get healthy snacks – BBC News

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