One in 200 U.S. Mothers Severely Ill During Delivery
Maternal morbidity 50 times more common than maternal mortality
THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- For every 1,000 deliveries in the United States, 5.1 women will be severely ill, a rate 50 times higher than the maternal death rate, according to an article published in the August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
William M. Callaghan, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey for 1991-2003 to identify potentially life-threatening diagnoses or life-saving procedures performed on women at the time of delivery.
Most women who became severely ill during delivery required transfusion or hysterectomy or experienced eclampsia, the researchers report. Women who were either very young or very old were more likely to become severely ill, as were black women versus white women. While maternal death is the traditional sentinel event in obstetrics, it is rare in the United States, and quality of care improvements require a shift in the concept of sentinel events, the authors write.
"The identification of women who experience severe adverse events during their delivery hospitalizations and a review of their care is a natural extension of pregnancy-related death surveillance," the authors write. "Understanding these experiences of these women potentially could modify the delivery of care in health care institutions and influence maternal health policy at the state and national level."