Death from childbirth is on the rise in the US

Over the last roughly 25 years, the maternal-mortality rate in the United States has been increasing, while most developed countries like Germany, Japan and Britain, have seen rates steadily decline, according to a report from The Economist.

In 1987, fewer than eight women died for every 100,000 live births in the U.S. By 2013, that rate increased to 18.5. In fact, the U.S. was one of just eight countries to see an increase in its maternal-mortality rate, putting it among the ranks of Afghanistan and South Sudan.

According to The Economist, the most likely reason the United States has seen such a drastic increase in maternal mortality is that poorer, sicker women are giving birth and not getting proper care.

Conditions like obesity, hypertension and diabetes are becoming more common in pregnant women in the U.S., and those conditions can make pregnancy risky. "These health conditions are more common among black women," the report reads. "African-Americans are also more likely to be poor, have limited access to healthcare and have higher rates of unexpected pregnancies." That may be why black women have a maternal-mortality rate of nearly 40 percent in the U.S., much higher than the nation as a whole.

Even though the U.S. overall has not been able to rein in maternal mortality, California has, according to The Economist. Hospitals, clinicians and state agencies came up with new ways to manage obstetric hemorrhage and preeclampsia in 2010, and as a result, the state has seen its maternal-mortality rates drop from roughly 17 per 100,000 births in 2006 to just over six per 100,000 births. Based on this success, federal, state and professional organizations have collaborated to implement similar strategies on a national level.

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