Death Rate From Childbirth Rises In California

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – A new study has found that more California women are dying during childbirth.

While they have only studied data from two years, 1999 and 2008, Dr. Connie Mitchell with the maternal/child/adolescent health division of the California Department of Public Health said the numbers are alarming.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“We’ve had a persistent rise in maternal mortality since 1999,” she said.

Mitchell said the number of women dying in childbirth has gone from eight per 100,000 to fourteen. Some of the increase is due to better record keeping and data collection, but Mitchell said much of it can be blamed on the worsening health of expectant mothers.

“More pregnant women have chronic health conditions when they become pregnant, such as obesity, hypertension and heart disease that contribute to worse outcomes,” said Mitchell.

She said there are also socioeconomic factors. African American women are four times more likely to die giving birth. More women are getting C-sections, but there’s no clear cause and effect there.

“We’re very concerned about rising Cesarean sections and we want to study that more,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell points out that a woman in trouble in labor is more likely to need a Cesarean, but most of the time that’s not a factor in her death.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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