Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Math, Logic, Maternal Deaths

A set of breathless articles have recently been circulating about how women die from complications of childbirth up to a year after giving birth!

Yes, our healthcare system is a horror show; yes, many maternal deaths are and should be preventable.  However!  They occur for up to a year because that is literally how the CDC defines a childbirth-related death.  Paid parental leave would help, but 2/3 of the deaths are before delivery or within a week.  Better healthcare - and effective treatments for pre-eclampsia! - would help even more. Women don't get good information about their own postpartum health; the standard checkup is six weeks later. Black (and Latina and Native and so on) women die disproportionately, and age and education are no protection.  

I'm all for paid maternal leave, for better healthcare, for equitable treatment of all.  But I don't want people to apply parental leave as a cure-all for something caused by how the numbers are counted.


  1. Antje, our former foreign exchange student from Germany, described her childbirth experience to me. They get at least a week off before the birth and meet with midwives (in-home) regularly before and after delivery. It probably saved her life, since she developed preeclampsia. It was like she was describing another planet!

    1. Astoundingly humane and effective! The midwives with Bug did do home visits which was great.


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