Contemporary Issues and Trends
- Amnesty International's report Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA, urges action to tackle a crisis that sees between two and three women die every day during pregnancy and childbirth in the USA.
- A total of 1.7 million women a year, one-third of all pregnant women in the country, suffer from pregnancy-related complications.
- The report also revealed that severe pregnancy-related complications that nearly cause death -- known as "near misses" -- are rising at an alarming rate, increasing by 25 percent since 1998.
- Minorities, those living in poverty, Native American and immigrant women and those who speak little or no English are particularly affected.
- Obstacles to care are widespread, even though the US A spends more on health care than any other country and more on pregnancy and childbirth-related hospital costs, $86 billion, than any other type of hospital care.
- Nearly 13 million women of reproductive age (15 to 44), or one in five, have no health insurance. Minorities account for just under one-third of all women in the USA (32 percent) but over half (51 percent) of uninsured women.
- One in four women do not receive adequate prenatal care, starting in the first trimester. The number rises to about one in three for African American and Native American women.
- A shortage of health care professionals is a serious obstacle to timely and adequate care, especially in rural areas and inner cities. In 2008, 64 million people were living in "shortage areas" for primary care (which includes maternal care).
- Many women are not given a say in decisions about their care and the risks of interventions such as inducing labor or cesarean sections. Cesarean sections make up nearly one-third of all deliveries in the USA - twice as high as recommended by the World Health Organization.