With the advancement of modern medicine, maternal deaths while giving birth are becoming increasingly rare in many developed countries across the world. Still, while high-income countries generally correlate positively with lower maternal mortality rates, the U.S. stands out as having an abnormally high rate of maternal deaths globally despite their vast wealth and medical technology. New data shows just how far the U.S. leads other developed countries in maternal deaths.
According to a recent report from the Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. has nearly double the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births compared to other wealthy, developed nations. At 17.4 per 100,000, the U.S. leads countries like France and Canada with roughly 100 percent more deaths per capita. Other countries, like the Netherlands., Germany and Norway, are below three deaths per 100,000.
The report goes on to show how a large number of maternal deaths occur after birth, with some deaths occurring shortly after birth or months after due to internal complications. Infection, severe bleeding and high blood pressure are some of the leading causes for postpartum death in the U.S.
Other data in the report illustrates how the U.S. has much less midwives per capita than other developed countries. The U.S. and Canada were some of the only developed countries with more OB-GYN doctors compared to midwives, with countries like Sweden and Australia having 66 and 68 midwives per 1,000 live births, respectively, compared to just 4 for both the U.S. and Canada.