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Why Is Childbirth So Dangerous In The United States?

Childbirth in the United States is a time of joy and anticipation for many families. However, it is also a time of significant risk for mothers. Despite the nation’s wealth of medical resources, the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among developed countries. This is a concerning issue that demands attention and action. According to recent data, pregnancy-related deaths have been on the rise in the United States, highlighting the urgent need for improved maternal care.

At Peter Angelos Law, we are committed to advocating for the rights and safety of mothers during childbirth. Our experienced team is here to help you through this challenging time and ensure that you receive the care and support you deserve. Don’t wait – contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.

If you or a loved one has experienced complications during childbirth, we encourage you to reach out to us at 410-216-0009.

The Dangers Of Childbirth In The U.S.

The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion but in the United States, it is increasingly tinged with apprehension. Maternal mortality rates are alarmingly high and physical trauma during childbirth is a common occurrence. This concerning reality is exacerbated by systemic issues in the health care sector that contribute to an environment where many mothers face unnecessary risks while bringing new life into the world.

High Maternal Mortality Rates

The average maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is a stark reminder of the dangers faced by expectant mothers, including the risk of maternal death. With 14 deaths per 100,000 live births, this figure is higher than most developed countries. This alarming statistic is not a standalone issue but is linked to a lack of adequate prenatal care. Women who do not receive prenatal care are at a higher risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications compared to those who do. To better understand and address this issue, it is crucial to review maternal deaths and identify areas for improvement.

The situation is further compounded by geographical and racial disparities. Elevated maternal mortality rates are observed mainly in the Midwest, northern Mountain states, and the South, with Black residents being disproportionately affected. The process of childbirth, which should be a celebration of life, has instead become a life-threatening risk for many women.

Physical Trauma During Childbirth

Physical trauma during childbirth is another distressing reality faced by women in the U.S. Up to 45% of new mothers experience birth trauma, which can include complications such as vaginal tears, excessive bleeding and emergency cesarean sections. The physical pain and emotional distress from these experiences can have long-term impacts on a woman’s health and her ability to care for her newborn child.

The role of medical interventions in these traumatic experiences cannot be overlooked. Improper medical interventions, including unnecessary cesarean deliveries or the misuse of labor-inducing drugs, can exacerbate physical trauma during childbirth. This is further complicated by the fact that birth trauma resulting from medical negligence may lead to significant long-term issues for the child, including physical, neurological, behavioral and cognitive complications.

Systemic Issues in Health care

The state of maternal health in the U.S. is not solely a consequence of individual health factors or personal circumstances. Systemic issues in health care contribute to the dangers of childbirth, including disparities in care and access to quality services.

Racial and socioeconomic disparities have a significant impact on maternal mortality rates, with Black women, in particular, experiencing higher mortality rates. Black women have experienced the largest increase in maternal deaths, highlighting the need for urgent systemic changes to address the racial inequities in maternal health outcomes. These disparities are a stark reminder of the systemic barriers that contribute to pregnancy complications and maternal deaths.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these disparities, further increasing maternal mortality rates. The pandemic has exposed the fragility of our health care system and the need for comprehensive, equitable, and accessible health care services for all expectant mothers. The challenges brought on by the pandemic have highlighted the critical gaps in our health care infrastructure, particularly in maternal care. With resources stretched thin and medical facilities overwhelmed, many pregnant women have faced delays in receiving necessary prenatal care.

Additionally, the fear of contracting the virus in medical settings has deterred some from seeking care, increasing the risk of undetected and untreated complications. The pandemic has also intensified the stress on mental health, adding to the stress and anxiety that expectant mothers may experience. The COVID-19 crisis has not only shone a spotlight on existing inequalities but has also underscored the urgency of addressing these deep-rooted issues within our health care system.

The Role Of Medical Malpractice

Beyond the systemic issues in health care, individual instances of medical malpractice further compound the dangers of childbirth. Negligence, misdiagnosis, and improper treatment during pregnancy and childbirth can lead to a wide range of complications, including:

  • Severe injury to the mother or child
  • Birth defects
  • Brain damage
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Maternal hemorrhage
  • Uterine rupture
  • Placental abruption
  • Stillbirth
  • Neonatal death

The tragic consequences of such malpractice underscore the importance of holding health care providers accountable and ensuring the highest standards of care within the health care system.

Negligence in Care

Negligence in maternity care can occur at any stage – before, during, or after the birth of a child. Such negligence can lead to serious complications and injuries, including failure to respond to fetal distress, improper use of delivery tools, and failure to timely convert a mother for a C-section. The consequences of such negligent actions can be severe, leading to both short-term and long-term birth injuries.

At Peter Angelos Law, we have been at the forefront of supporting families impacted by negligent birth injuries. Our dedicated legal team works relentlessly to ensure health care providers are held to account, while also aiding in the recovery of just compensation. One of our cases that exemplifies the devastating impact of medical negligence during childbirth is one where a mother suffered fatal complications at a renowned medical center. It is our mission to stand by such families in their pursuit of justice and reparation.

Misdiagnosis of Conditions

In addition to negligence, diagnostic errors also contribute significantly to maternal morbidity and mortality during and immediately after childbirth. Severe complications or even death can occur from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of conditions like:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Placental abruption
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Undetected ectopic pregnancies

Ineffective communication among health care providers, limited access to patient information and misinterpretation of clinical data are common causes of diagnostic errors in maternal care. To reduce the risk of misdiagnosis in maternal care, the following strategies are recommended:

  • Improve communication among healthcare providers
  • Enhance access to patient information
  • Implement better processes and interventions
  • Conduct targeted research to develop effective interventions

These strategies aim to improve maternal health outcomes through better diagnosis.

Improper Treatment

Improper treatment during childbirth can result in a range of birth injuries, influenced by the specific negligent act and its severity. Some examples of birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Facial nerve injuries
  • Fractures

Systemic health care issues, like insufficient support for the emotional challenges of childbirth, can lead to long-term psychological consequences. A lack of established treatment protocols in some U.S. hospitals hampers the rapid and effective response to childbirth complications.

At Peter Angelos Law, we stand firm against the injustice of medical negligence that leads to birth injuries. Our team of dedicated birth injury attorneys works tirelessly to ensure that families affected by errors in monitoring during labor and delivery receive the justice and compensation they are entitled to. We are committed to providing compassionate legal assistance every step of the way.

Disparities In Maternal Health Care

The glaring disparities in maternal health care are a stark reflection of deeper societal inequities. Black women, individuals of lower socioeconomic status, and those with limited access to quality care face a disproportionately higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. These disparities are driven by a complex interplay of social determinants and systemic barriers in the health care system, underscoring the need for a comprehensive approach to improving maternal health outcomes.

Racial Disparities

Racial disparities in maternal health outcomes are a troubling reality in the U.S. Some key statistics include:

  • Black women are nearly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to White women.
  • Maternal mortality rates for Black women were 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021.
  • The chronic stress of racism accelerates aging in Black women, potentially adding up to a biological age that is 10 years older than their white counterparts.

Implicit biases from health care providers and the lasting effects of racist policies and practices, such as redlining, contribute to poorer maternal health outcomes among Black women. To reduce diagnostic errors and improve maternal care for Black women, strategies such as implementing hospital-wide safety bundles and addressing implicit bias and structural barriers in health care settings are proposed.

Socioeconomic Disparities

Socioeconomic disparities play a significant role in maternal and infant health outcomes. Factors such as:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Level of education
  • Insurance status

Maternal and infant health outcomes have a significant effect on the risk of pregnancy-related mortality and severe maternal morbidity. To reduce maternal mortality, it is crucial to address these issues, as disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes persist despite controls for socioeconomic factors like education and income. Disease control plays an important role in tackling these challenges.

Black and Hispanic women often experience greater adversities due to socioeconomic status and neighborhood conditions, leading to less favorable birth outcomes. In addition, women of color are at an increased risk of being uninsured before pregnancy. These factors highlight the need for adequate and accessible health care services for all expectant mothers, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Limited Access to Quality Care

Limited access to quality care is a pressing issue affecting millions of women in the U.S., particularly in maternity care deserts and medically underserved areas. An increase in the number of U.S. counties classified as maternity care deserts, which lack hospitals or birth centers offering obstetric care and providers, has been observed since 2018. Insurance status and financial issues exacerbate the risk of pregnancy complications, particularly among Black women.

More than 5.6 million women live in areas with no or limited maternity care services, and the loss of obstetric units in hospitals has decreased maternity care access in nearly one in 10 U.S. counties. This limited access to quality care often leads to poorer maternal and infant health outcomes, highlighting the urgent need for systemic changes to improve access to quality maternity care.

The Impact Of Preexisting Conditions

Preexisting conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, significantly influence pregnancy outcomes. These conditions increase risks during childbirth and require careful management, necessitating a robust health care system that can efficiently monitor and manage these conditions to ensure the health and safety of both the mother and child.


Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a major chronic ailment affecting pregnant women. Chronic health conditions, like hypertension, have become significant contributors to the increased maternal mortality rate in the United States. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S., alongside other conditions such as thrombotic pulmonary embolism, hemorrhage, and cardiovascular complications, including cardiovascular disease.

Hypertension during pregnancy can lead to severe complications like preeclampsia, eclampsia, stroke and placental abruption. High blood pressure during pregnancy can also increase the risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight, with potential prevention or management through lifestyle changes and medication.


Diabetes, another common chronic condition, also poses significant risks during pregnancy. Diabetes in pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects, stillbirth and preterm birth, alongside potential complications like high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Mismanagement of gestational diabetes or other forms of diabetes can lead to additional risks such as uncontrolled high blood sugar levels, an enhanced likelihood of cesarean delivery, and the baby being born too large.

Children born to mothers with diabetes are at a heightened risk of facing long-term health issues such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in the future. Careful monitoring and management of diabetes during pregnancy are imperative to mitigate risks of serious complications for both the mother and child.

Other Preexisting Conditions

In addition to hypertension and diabetes, other preexisting conditions also impact pregnancy outcomes. A shift toward later pregnancies, now at an average age of 30 years old, is associated with greater health risks including the exacerbation of preexisting conditions. Chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and smoking, increase the need for specialized prenatal care to address the higher burden of care required.

Heart conditions present risks to pregnancy outcomes, thus requiring careful monitoring by health care providers to manage these preexisting conditions during pregnancy. The need for comprehensive health care services that can efficiently manage these conditions is paramount to ensure the safety and well-being of both the mother and the child.

The Importance Of Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is a critical aspect of a healthy pregnancy. It provides the foundation for pregnancy-related education, support and medical care for expectant parents.

Early and regular prenatal visits, monitoring health concerns, and providing education and support are all integral components of effective prenatal care.

Early and Regular Prenatal Visits

Early and regular prenatal care improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy by allowing health care providers to screen for and manage health problems. The recommended prenatal care protocol in the United States includes 13 to 14 visits with an obstetrician or midwife, beginning between the 8th and 10th weeks of pregnancy.

Continuous prenatal care is essential for ongoing monitoring of fetal development and maternal health throughout the pregnancy. By ensuring that expectant mothers have regular checkups, health care providers can detect and manage potential health concerns early, thereby reducing the risk of complications during birth.

Monitoring and Managing Health Concerns

Monitoring and managing health concerns during pregnancy is essential for the well-being of both the mother and child. From managing anxiety disorders and depression to monitoring for anemia and maintaining a healthy weight, each aspect of prenatal care plays a vital role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

Treatment may also be required for conditions like hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness, to prevent weight loss and dehydration. Screening and treating infections, including UTIs, are also part of prenatal care to prevent serious health implications for both the mother and infant.

Beyond the medical aspects, mental well-being and overcoming barriers to care are essential for child health, particularly for the health of the mother and child facing mental health conditions.

Education and Support for Expectant Mothers

Innovative prenatal care programs and prenatal classes play a vital role in providing critical support and education for expectant mothers. Programs like The JJ Way, CenteringPregnancy, and the HealthConnect One Community-Based Doula Program improve birth outcomes and provide much-needed support to expectant mothers. Doula services have also been effective in halving the likelihood of birth complications and reducing costs for state Medicaid programs.

Attending prenatal classes can:

  • Improve communication between expectant mothers and their health care providers
  • Empower them to make informed decisions
  • Provide a platform for connecting with educators and other couples

The importance of social support for maternal mental health was further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw increased levels of depression and anxiety among pregnant women.

How Peter Angelos Law Can Help

Peter Angelos Law is dedicated to helping families affected by dangerous childbirth experiences. With over 500 years of combined experience and a strong commitment to justice, our firm offers legal experience, compassionate representation, and a firm commitment to achieving positive outcomes for affected families.

At Peter Angelos Law, we understand the toll that childbirth complications can take on a family, and we are committed to providing support and pursuing justice.

Legal Experience

Peter Angelos Law provides legal representation for birth injury cases. Our attorneys are experienced in claims related to prenatal errors and medical negligence during childbirth. With a detailed understanding of Maryland birth injury laws, including statutes of limitation and state-specific filing requirements, we ensure the precise handling of medical malpractice claims.

With a legacy dating back to 1961 and a track record of securing billions of dollars in compensation, Peter Angelos Law is recognized for effectively fighting and winning birth injury and medical malpractice cases. Operating on a contingency-fee basis, we alleviate upfront financial stress on clients, charging legal fees only when compensation is successfully recovered.

Compassionate Representation

At Peter Angelos Law, we believe in compassionate representation. We understand the emotional and psychological toll of dealing with childbirth complications, and we strive to build trusting relationships with our clients. Our approach is not just about winning cases, but also about providing emotional support and guidance throughout the legal process.

Legal compensation from a birth injury lawsuit can provide financial relief to families for treatment related to preventable injuries sustained during delivery. We are committed to keeping our clients well-informed throughout their cases, ensuring that they understand the legal process and their rights.

Pursuing Justice for Families

Peter Angelos Law is dedicated to pursuing justice for families affected by dangerous childbirth experiences. We strive for successful resolutions and full compensation, advocating for birth injury victims and their families. We aim to recover a wide range of damages for affected families, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Long-term care costs
  • Noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.

Our attorneys are well-prepared to handle complex birth injury cases, including those that potentially involve wrongful death claims. Client testimonials frequently praise the firm for its compassionate representation and dedication to securing necessary compensation for medical and ongoing care costs.

Contact Us For Compassionate Support After A Birth Injury

The dangers of childbirth in the United States demand immediate attention and proactive measures. High maternal mortality rates, the prevalence of physical trauma during childbirth and systemic health care issues underscore the urgency of addressing these risks. The disparities in maternal health care and the impact of preexisting conditions only intensify the need for change. But there is hope. With comprehensive prenatal care and the right legal support, we can transform the narrative from fear to one of safety and assurance.

If you or a loved one has been affected by the dangers of childbirth, Peter Angelos Law is your staunch ally. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to providing you with the legal experience you need and the compassionate representation you deserve. We are committed to pursuing justice and securing the compensation necessary to support your family through this difficult time. Don’t let these challenges go unchallenged – call us today at 410-216-0009 to speak with a Baltimore birth injury lawyer and take the first step toward a safer childbirth experience and a brighter future for you and your child.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is U.S. maternal mortality so high?

U.S. maternal mortality is high due to factors such as more women having children later in life with chronic conditions, and the rising number of unnecessary cesarean sections.

How does medical malpractice contribute to childbirth complications?

Medical malpractice, such as negligence and misdiagnosis, can result in severe injury or death for the mother or child during childbirth. It can lead to a wide range of complications.

How do preexisting conditions like hypertension and diabetes impact pregnancy outcomes?

Preexisting conditions like hypertension and diabetes can significantly impact pregnancy outcomes by increasing risks during childbirth, requiring careful management.

How can Peter Angelos Law help families affected by dangerous childbirth experiences?

Peter Angelos Law can help families affected by dangerous childbirth experiences by providing legal experience, compassionate representation and a commitment to pursuing justice for birth injury cases with over 500 years of combined experience in the field.