Maternal Mortality

I pause the journey of grief to attack another angle of Molly’s story…. maternal mortality. If you are looking for a sob story to make you feel better about your own life, this post isn’t it. Instead, this should make you embarrassed of some statistics about our beloved ‘Merica.

Here’s s scary statistic for you to chew on: The lifetime risk of maternal death is greater in the U.S. than in 40 other countries, including almost all other industrialized nations.1 There are also marked disparities in maternal mortality in the U.S. – See more statistics about your state at: http://hrc.nwlc.org/status-indicators/maternal-mortality-rate-100000 In fact, based upon the reading I’ve done, the U.S. ranks somewhere between 40 and 60 in maternal mortality. At least 50 other countries have lower mortality rates than us! (This research is almost all pre-Obamacare before you start your hem-hawing!)

If you grew up in Carrollton in the 80s and 90s, you were probably told, “Carroll County has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country!” I don’t know if that was supposed to scare us as middle and high school students, or to highlight that there really was NOTHING to do in our town. Either way, we were all aware that too many teenagers were getting pregnant. I don’t remember being told how to prevent it, I only recall being told, “If you get pregnant in high school, then you probably won’t go to college.” I even remember being told, “If you get pregnant in high school, then you probably will lose all of your friends.” I don’t ever remember being told, “If you get pregnant, you could die!” Now, let’s be real. You could die at any age of pregnancy related causes, but most teenagers don’t have to reasoning ability yet to determine that pregnancy could lead to their death! We spend so much time scaring and shaming our youth into abstinence, that we neglect to educate them of safe sex practices, and all of the possible outcomes. Yes, you will struggle to get an education, and your social life might falter a little, but seriously, kids, if you don’t get the proper prenatal care, YOU CAN DIE! YOU CAN DIE! YOU CAN DIE! Parents, start talking to your kids (boys and girls) about safe sex practices. Let them know that they are human and they will make mistakes. Tell them Molly’s story. Let them know that there are worse things than being pregnant as a teenager!

Now, all of these statistics about maternal mortality are frightening. There is something even more scary to me. You know how when someone dies of cancer, many times it’s not the actual cancer that is the cause of their death? It’s infections from low counts, it’s complications from treatments and surgery, or a host of other things. So often, the cause of death listed on the death certificate is not “the cancer.” It’s whatever actually lead to the death, albeit caused by the cancer. Molly’s death certificate said, “Hypovolemic Shock.” She bled to death. So her cause of death is in some statistic about people bleeding to death. She bled to death because she gave birth to twins with no prenatal or perinatal care! So, we know the statistics must be slightly higher if Molly’s death was related to her childbirth. Surely she can’t be the only one!

I can’t find the study I read recently about New Jersey and Georgia having the highest maternal death rates and no maternal death committee for the state. Now, I love Snooki, J-Woww, and The Situation as much as the next girl, but I’d much rather my home state and theirs keep their commonalities to big hair and tattoos.  Yep, did you know that most states have a committee that studies maternal death and tries to figures out causes and cures? Georgia’s legislature finally passed a bill this past session to finally form the committee. I know from the horse’s mouth via my mom that it has been formed. You can bet your favorite pair of shoes that I will be bending the ear of someone on that committee!

Here are some more articles with information on maternal death:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/demand-dignity/maternal-health-is-a-human-right/maternal-health-in-the-us

https://www.arhp.org/publications-and-resources/contraception-journal/march-2011

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/maternal-deaths-in-childbirth-rise-in-the-us/2014/05/02/abf7df96-d229-11e3-9e25-188ebe1fa93b_story.html

I don’t know if this will be an aspect of our foundation or not, but it certainly will be something that I personally will follow and fight. Our maternal mortality rate has increased since the late 80s! I think of all the advances we’ve made since then, and I want to throw a rock at someone. We can use 3-D printers to print out prosthetic hands, we can do bone marrow transplants in Atlanta (no more going to Seattle and Boston or wherever all my friends had to go), we can slow down the progression of HIV and AIDS, we can use bovine parts in humans, but we can’t lower our maternal mortality rate??? Come on people, childbirth has been happening long before any of us were here…..

Keep ROCK-in your life. Radical Open Conversation and Kindness every day, every subject, every person. For Molly.

More than meat loves salt,

EGG

 

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