After conducting a four-year investigation into the nation’s hospital maternity wards, USA Today has found that among developed nations, the United States is the “most dangerous place” on earth to give birth. Every year in the U.S., more than 50,000 mothers are severely injured during or after childbirth and 700 die- EVERY YEAR- because hospitals are not following long-known safety measures.

“Experts say that about 50 percent of the deaths of women from childbirth-related causes could be prevented if they were given better medical care and that’s a really surprising thing given that we’re one of the wealthiest countries in the world and we spend so much on medical care. We’re not just talking about the women who die, we’re talking about 50,000 U.S. women who are suffering life-altering harms,” USA Today investigative reporter Alison Young.” 1


The two leading causes of childbirths deaths and injuries are hemorrhage and severe hypertension, preventable issues when hospitals pay close attention to a patient’s blood pressure and blood loss levels. However, the investigation “found that medical professionals are often ‘eye-balling’ how much blood a woman loses during childbirth instead of measuring it for warning signs that something’s not right.”2


Sadly, hospitals around the country haven’t made these issues a top priority and really all that needs to be done is more training. Except in California that is, where hospitals and safety advocates have instituted practices that have cut the state’s maternal death rate in half.

Click here for more information on USA Today’s full four-year investigation and click here for a guide with tips for how patients can advocate for themselves during childbirth.

Sources and References

  1. CBS News, July 26, 2018.
  2. CBS News, July 26, 2018.