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The study also found black women and American Indian/Alaska Native women are three times as likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than white women

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May 08, 2019 03:35 PM

A terrifying report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week revealed that a startling number of women are dying from pregnancy-related complications up until a year after giving birth — and more than half of them could have been avoided if they received proper care.

The report, published on Tuesday, found that nearly 700 women in the United States die every year of complications that arise from pregnancy or childbirth, and of those deaths, three out of five could have been prevented. Researchers examined cases from over the last decade where a mother died before, during or up to a year after giving birth to their child.

Out of the nearly 3000 deaths recorded from 2011 to 2015, the primary causes included hemorrhage (329); infection (360); amniotic fluid embolism (173); hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (212) and anesthesia complications (10).

“Ensuring quality care for mothers throughout their pregnancies and postpartum should be among our Nation’s highest priorities,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said in a statement.

“Though most pregnancies progress safely, I urge the public health community to increase awareness with all expectant and new mothers about the signs of serious pregnancy complications and the need for preventative care that can and does save lives,” he continued.

Researchers also revealed an alarming racial disparity in their findings: African-American, Native American and Alaska Native women are nearly three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women.

Serena Williams, who opened up about difficulties during her pregnancy last year
Serena Williams/Instagram

Last year, tennis legend Serena Williams opened up about being rushed to an emergency C-section to give birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, but after the delivery, a coughing fit made her wound reopen and doctors discovered multiple life-threatening blood clots in her body.

Of the deaths that researchers analyzed, approximately sixty percent of them were determined to be preventable. Strategies to address the contributory factors of pregnancy-related deaths should be addressed at the community, health facility, patient, provider, and system levels, the CDC advised.

RELATED: Serena Williams Survived Her Risky Childbirth But Many Don’t: Why Maternal Mortality Is Soaring

“Our new analysis underscores the need for access to quality services, risk awareness, and early diagnosis, but it also highlights opportunities for preventing future pregnancy-related deaths,” Wanda Barfield, a director in the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said in a statement.

She added: “By identifying and promptly responding to warning signs not just during pregnancy, but even up to a year after delivery, we can save lives.”

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