Obese and Older Moms Suffer from More Severe Childbirth Complications, Says New Study

Automatic Blood Pressure MeterAccording to a new study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), severe complications during childbirth are on the rise among mothers in the United States. Although still rare overall, severe complications including heart attack and stroke have increased by 75% and 114% for delivery and postpartum hospitalizations, respectively, over the last decade.

Rates of severe complications for delivery and postpartum hospitalizations for the 2008 to 2009 period were 129 and 29, respectively, for every 10,000 delivery hospitalizations. The researchers discovered increasing rates of blood transfusion, acute renal failure, shock, acute myocardial infarction, respiratory distress syndrome, aneurysms, and cardiac surgery during delivery hospitalizations. Maternal mortality during postpartum hospitalizations also increased by 66%.

However, William Callaghan, the leader of the study, cautions, “We don’t want to send the message that pregnant women should be afraid.” The increase in severe childbirth complications is due to the increasing number of women who are giving birth at an older age as well to the number of pregnant women who already suffer from additional health conditions including obesity and the related high blood pressure and diabetes.

Callaghan also states that women need to be as possible before pregnancy, which includes losing excess weight and getting high blood pressure and diabetes well controlled. As he concludes, “Not all complications can be avoided, of course. But the best outcomes happen when a woman is as healthy as possible going into pregnancy.”


Serious birth complications rising in the U.S. – study:,0,5533685.story
Severe maternal morbidity among delivery and postpartum hospitalizations in the United States:

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