You wanted to know why maternal mortality rates are higher in the United States now than they were decades ago. And that’s a really good question, and the answer is multifaceted, and there’s a few different reasons why these rates are higher. Statistics show that, in 1990, there were about 10 per 100,000 maternal deaths related to pregnancy, labor and delivery, or the postpartum period - basically, related to the fact that the woman was having a baby. In 2014, it was 18 deaths per 100,000. And the biggest explanation for this difference is the fact that coding and tracking has gotten better, and so that may be the reason why the statistics show that it’s gone up. In reality, it may not have, but there are some other factors to consider. For example, as the decades have gone on, women have begun to have children later in their years, and research shows that a woman is more likely to die during pregnancy, or child birth, or during the postpartum period if she is less than 20 years of age or over 35 years of age. So maternal age does play a roll. Obesity and other health problems also increase a woman’s chances of having complications that can lead to death, and obesity rates are on the rise in the United States. There is something called “The 3 Delays Model” that has also been used to explain why maternal death may happen. And basically, in short, there’s 3 circumstances where delay may lead to greater chance for maternal death. The 1st is a delay in seeking care. A woman may not have the education she needs in order to know when to get checked out or she may not have access to prenatal care. The 2nd is a delay in actually getting to the place where she’s going to receive treatment, and so this may involve living far away from a hospital or not having good transportation. The 3rd delay is the type of delay that may happen in the hospital based on misdiagnosis or lack of resources. And so all of these things may be contributing factors to it. On the list of problems that cause maternal death are hemorrhage, cardiovascular conditions, infection, preeclampsia, embolism, maternal homicide, and stroke. There are others, but the take-away message of all of this is that, in the end, the chances of having a healthy pregnancy are actually still really high, and there are things that you can do to decrease the likelihood of becoming a statistic. Go into pregnancy being as healthy as possible, and this also includes being at a healthy weight, and this means planning for pregnancy. Talk with your doctor before you’re going to try to conceive to make sure that you’re as healthy as possible. And if there are any conditions that need to be managed or treated before you get pregnant, the time to do that is before pregnancy, not during. And they can also talk with you about your BMI, or body mass index, to make sure that it’s within a normal range. And if it’s not, they can counsel you on how you can lose weight safely before you conceive. Once you do get pregnant, make your first prenatal appointment by 13 weeks gestation and plan on at least 13 visits throughout the pregnancy. Prenatal care has been shown to increase the chances of a woman and her baby being as healthy as possible, because it allows a provider to identify women who are at risk and allows them to monitor them appropriately. If in between prenatal appointments you have concerns or questions or you’ve observed something that you’re just not sure about, talk with your OB provider about it. There’s no way to know if it’s concerning or not without talking with them, so they’re always available and they’re a great resource. Don’t ever hesitate to call them if you have questions or concerns. The last thing that you can do is plan on delivering at a hospital that has resources capable of managing an emergent situation if one does arise. If you have more questions or concerns about your circumstances, don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor who can give you tailored information and advice based on their knowledge of your current situation and your past pregnancy history. If you have more questions in the future for me, feel free to ask them on our Intermountain Moms Facebook and Instagram pages, and recommend us to your friends and family too.