Modern medicine has given doctors the gift and the curse of having to decide on a method of delivery in childbirth. Today, cesarean section births are carefully orchestrated procedures where a physician delivers a baby surgically via incisions in a mother’s abdomen and uterus. But for most of human history, the decision to opt for a c-section over a vaginal birth was a necessary last-ditch effort to prevent the death of a mother in labor. Before antiseptics, antibiotics, anesthesia, and midwifery became common in American hospitals, the risks of complications from c-section surgery far outweighed the benefits in all but the most urgent cases.
Maternal deaths from pregnancy related to sepsis (blood infection) occur at an unacceptably high rate. Deaths due to maternal sepsis increased in the United States from 1998 to 2008.
The number of maternal deaths worldwide has dropped dramatically in the past few decades (WHO, 2014). In the U.S., however, maternal death rates have more
Significant maternal morbidity and death is a problem that for many women can and should be prevented. Studies show that 40-50% of all maternal deaths are preventable.