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Increase in Child Birth Complications

With new technology, new medicines, and access to information, pregnant mothers would expect their birth experience to be safer than ever before. Despite all the advances, there has actually been an increase in pregnancy complications. What has caused the increase in childbirth complications?

Birth and Pregnancy Complication Statistics 

According to healthcare provider Blue Cross Blue Shield, between 2014 and 2018, there has been an overall increase in the rates of pregnancy and childbirth complications. The rate of pregnancy complications rose 16.4% over those 4 years, from 168.4 per 1,000 to 196.0 per 1,000. Childbirth complications rose more than 14% from 14.8 per 1,000 to 16.9 per 1,000. 

There were a number of conditions involved that caused the pregnancy and childbirth complications, including:

In many cases, pregnancy complications can further increase the risk of childbirth complications. Women who had childbirth complications were more than twice as likely to have pregnancy complications. For the listed pregnancy complications, eclampsia carried the greatest risk of childbirth complications, making it 16 times more likely to have a childbirth complication after eclampsia.

Is OB/GYN Care Getting Worse?  

Even a decade ago, there were indications that giving birth had gotten riskier. By 2009, the risk of emergencies during delivery had increased by 75% over the prior ten years. The risk of severe complications following delivery also increased. One of the reasons for an increase in birth complications is the increase in pregnant women who have chronic health conditions like diabetes.   

However, obesity, older patients, and chronic health conditions do not account for all the birth complications. Between 1993 and 2014, the rate of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy increased faster than chronic hypertension in hospital deliveries. The rate of hypertensive disorders per 10,000 deliveries increased from about 500 in 1993 to 900 in 2014. Hypertension can cause a number of labor and birth complications, including preeclampsia, seizures, and kidney and liver problems. 

The rate of postpartum hemorrhage increased greatly over the same time period. The rate of postpartum hemorrhage that required blood transfusions increased from 7.9 in 1993 to 39.7 in 2014. Postpartum hemorrhage can present a serious risk to the mother. Some blood loss is normal in childbirth but serious blood loss that is not properly treated can lead to shock and death. Signs of postpartum hemorrhage can include:

  • Heavy bleeding that does not stop
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Chills 
  • Tachycardia
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Pale, cold, and clammy skin
  • Swelling around the vagina or perineum
  • Loss of consciousness

Representing Families After Birth Injuries

If you believe that an injury your child sustained during birth was caused by medical malpractice, contact our experienced birth injury lawyers. At Gilman & Bedigian, we work with our staff physician to fully investigate the circumstances of your case, advise you of the best course of action along the way, and take the fight to the courtroom if necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.


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