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Charlotte Talks: Why Are So Many Women Dying In Childbirth? Local Experts Discuss Troubling Trend

Flickr/Emily Goodstein

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How is it that the United States is "the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world?" Mike Collins examines the causes and solutions.

The United States is the "most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world." That's the finding of a new investigation from USA Today, which found that while most give birth without incident, 50,000 women are severely injured and 700 die due to problems in childbirth.

A special NPR-ProPublica investigative series found similar results. While other countries are improving childbirth outcomes, the U.S. is the only country in the industrialized world where the rate of women who die from pregnancy-related complications is rising.

These recent reports have found that hospitals are inadequately prepared to deal with maternal emergencies and treatable complications can often become deadly. Some of the causes are devastatingly simple and preventable – excessive bleeding and high blood pressure are two of the top causes of maternal death in America.

Why is this happening? We look for answers, find out how our state ranks, and discuss what's being done locally to fix the problem.


Alison Young, Investigative Reporter, USA Today. She reported for their 'Deadly Deliveries' series about the high maternal mortality rate in the U.S.

Dr. Amelia Sutton, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Maternal and Fetal Medicine, Novant Health

Dr. Saju Joy, Obstetrician-Gynecologist and chief medical officer at CHS-Pineville

Sarah Verbiest, Clinical Associate Professor at the UNC School of Social Work and the Executive Director of the Center for Maternal & Infant Health in the UNC School of Medicine

Related reading:

USA Today series Deadly Deliveries

Patient Tips for a Safer Birth from USA Today

NPR/ProPublica series Lost Mothers

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.