I read this BBC news article and thought they did a good job putting the maternal mortality problem in perspective. Trust the Brits to keep us Americans honest. We're doing better than third world countries, but for spending as much as we do, our rates of maternal death during or after giving birth are the worst. So what's going on?
So what can we do about this? The International Center for Traditional Childbearing is working to train midwives of color to help explore and combat these numbers. Midwives of color are rare, and obstetricians of color are even more so. I would really like to see some answers here. Why is this happening?
One theory is that because Americans intervene in normal childbirth more than many other countries, which has led us to a 32% Cesarean rate, we might be actually seeing iatrogenic deaths. A sobering thought: Hazards of Cesarean Birth.
One of my favorite midwives and writers on the topic of maternal deaths is a pioneer in the homebirth field. You can read Ina May Gaskin's writing in this area and see what you think.