While a new law will help states investigate why the death rates in America have more than doubled in the past 20 years, experts say complications from surgical deliveries are a key reason. Other news on women’s health looks at delivery times; midwifery; and an international campaign to end violence against women.
Women in the United States face a far greater risk of dying from childbirth complications than in many other wealthy countries. Now the federal government has taken a step toward addressing the problem with the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, signed in December, which will provide federal grants to states to investigate the deaths of women who die within a year of being pregnant. (Kaplan, 3/5)
A mother’s health during a hospital birth may depend in part on the time of day and the kind of hospital. For a study published in Risk Analysis, researchers recorded maternal complications in more than two million births, tracking complications that can reasonably be controlled by hospital staff: severe perineal laceration, ruptured uterus, unplanned hysterectomy, admission to an intensive care unit, or unplanned operating procedure following delivery. More than 21,000 women had one or more of these complications. (Bakalar, 3/4)
For a generation of Mennonite women, Elizabeth Catlin was integral to the most joyous occasions of their lives: the births of their children. Ms. Catlin was a second mother, they said, a birthing attendant who helped them with prenatal care and then caught their babies during hundreds of natural childbirth deliveries at their homes. So it was incomprehensible to them that on a recent winter day they were in a courtroom to support Ms. Catlin, who in December had been arrested and charged with four felonies for practicing midwifery in a county about an hour southeast of Rochester. (Pager, 3/5)
Women’s rights activists from 128 nations are launching a public campaign Tuesday for an international treaty to end violence against women and girls, a global scourge estimated by the United Nations to affect 35 percent of females worldwide. The campaign led by the Seattle-based nonprofit organization Every Woman Treaty aims to have the U.N. World Health Organization adopt the treaty with the goal of getting all 193 U.N. member states to ratify it. (3/4)
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