10.30.2007

SOMETHING ELSE TO BE AFRAID OF

I read in Time Magazine last week that out of 171 countries, the United States ranks 41 for women who die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. The U.S. death rate is 1 in 4,800, while the European death rate is far lower at 1 in 16,400. (In case you are wondering, the worst is Niger, where one out of seven mothers dies. That is really sad.)

What's the deal? Why is the maternal death rate lower in countries like Bosnia and Ireland? The United States is supposed to have "great" health care (I'm not touching the insurance topic here, only talking about the quality of care), and we all know how "medicalized" childbirth has become. I'm trying to figure this out. Is it because we, as Americans, are more overweight than Europeans? What is wrong with us? Why aren't we the best at everything? Is this statistic accurate? Barring any old pioneer novels, does anyone actually know someone who died from childbirth (or pregnancy complications) post-1970?

I hate hearing stuff like this. Not because I want more European mothers to die, but because it scares me. The reason I am afraid of things like dogs, roller coasters, and old food, is because those things can cause death. On the other hand, as far as I know, no one has ever died from the pain caused by childbirth. This was the one thing that got me through labor last time. I kept thinking, "The pain isn't going to kill me. It will all be over soon." It did end soon, and I didn't die. BUT, what if you can die from pain in childbirth now too?? What am I going to cling to during labor this next time?

So, it now appears that a country like France not only has better food and a 35 hour work week, but a dang good mortality rate for mothers too. Ugh. Stupid French. (60-40)

13 comments:

  1. Okay, so I saw that headline in the news online and didn't read it figuring that I'm already pregnant, I don't need to get all freaked out about dying during childbirth. But yeah, I thought the same thing. I can't think of anyone who has died in childbirth recently, or that I know of first hand. Or even second hand. Mary from The Secret Garden... didn't her mother die in childbirth (or was it cholera or something). And Nancy Drew's mom? But seriously, I don't know of any real people. I've heard stories of doctor's telling women they shouldn't get pregnant, or they'll die if they do... etc., but I always hear the miracle part of how they lived.

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  2. I don't think it's the "pain" you have to worry about. There are other issues at play.

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  3. yeah- I don't think its the pain either. "Dogs" Cristin? I am more afraid of a man snatching me from my car stopped at a red light than a dog biting me to death! Actually I could probably name about 100 things I am more afraid of... thats just silly!

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  4. Kelley - You have obviously never had a baby. It can be REALLY painful. Like SCARY PAINFUL.

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  5. (Caitlin) I agree with Cristin, labor can be really painful...SCARY painful... trust me. Wow thats crazy! Don't worry Cristin you'll be okay. Just remember to go to the doctor the first sign that anything is wrong!

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  6. Actually Cristin you were on the right track with the obesity idea. The leading cause of death in pregnancies in the United States is Pulmonary Embolisms. A blood clot formed in the venous system brakes loose and becomes lodged in the lungs. Pulmonary embolisms are predisposed, or more likely to occur, in people who are diabetic, inactive, and OVERWEIGHT. Now think about the percentage of overweight Americans in relations to other countries and the mortality rate in pregnancies begins to make sense. America has some of the most advanced medical technology in the world, but prevention is always better than a cure.

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  7. Okay, so I think I need to clarify. I know that the pain really hurts, but what I meant was that it's not the PAIN that kills you but what is causing the pain. It sure feels like you're dying, though.

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  8. I hope I'm not just digging a hole for myself. When I look back and read my comments, they look a little dumb . . .

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  9. I had to stop reading pregnancy books because every section that would cover anything that could go wrong would just make me freak out. But if anyone was going to die of the pain...it would be me. I am the biggest wuss when it comes to pain.

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  10. I know, I was totally freaked out during my pregnancy too. What expecting mother isnt? I think though that you are really strong, physically and mentallysd. PLUS you've already experienced giving birth, you know what to expect and how you're going to react to the pain. AND most mothers say that their second delivery is far easier than the first. Your baby is going to fly right out of you! NO WORRIES. Just have faith. You can do iiiiiiiiiit!

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  11. Um--you'd be a lot less stressed about the pain if you considered this super new/amazing/pain free/awesome thing call an EPIDURAL. I never even have to consider dying from pain because there isn't any. ;) (I know--you're all natural, but it had to be said.)

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