What Health Conditions Cause Maternal Mortality?

Author: Vindhya Saha

The most common reasons why 1 in 3 females die during and after pregnancy are associated with cardiovascular diseases. These include issues related to the heart and the narrowing or blockage of blood vessels, which can lead to ruptures, heart attacks, and strokes. Common symptoms of cardiovascular diseases include chest pain, stomach sickness, nausea, and swollen feet. Furthermore, heavy bleeding, high blood pressure, and other infections cause the most significant fatalities one week after pregnancy. For example, a hemorrhage is an infection that causes vaginal bleeding, affecting 25% of women in the first half of their pregnancy. In addition, preeclampsia is a severe blood pressure condition that can happen after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth (also known as postpartum preeclampsia). This is when a pregnant woman or a woman giving birth has high blood pressure and signs that some of her organs, like the kidneys and liver, may not be working properly. Finally, eclampsia is a severe complication of preeclampsia when a person has seizures. These seizures can result in a coma, brain damage, or even death of both the mother and the baby.

Some major non-cardiovascular diseases can also contribute to maternal mortality, one of the most important being amniotic fluid embolism. When this fluid transfers from the baby to the mother’s bloodstream while giving birth, the mother’s body can be susceptible to great danger, which may lead to death.

Much of the maternal mortality crisis focuses on the physical causes of death, but mental health also plays a critical role in this situation. More than half of poor infants live with a mother who has some level of depressive symptoms. Thus, ignoring conditions such as maternal depression would be a huge misstep. Creating policies that address adequate screening and treatment services for mothers and their children is an essential step to combat the maternal mortality crisis.

Sources:
https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/pregnancy-related-death-maternal death-and-maternal-mortality.aspx
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/maternal-mortality

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