Maternal mortality examined

Study looks at pregnancy-related deaths in California

Recently published research on the prevalence of maternal mortality looks specifically at California, where one of every eight children in the U.S. is born.

Historically speaking, great strides have been made in improving the safety of childbirth, according to Compared with the rate in 1900, national rates of maternal mortality dropped from 850 deaths per 100,000 live births to 7.7 per 100,000 in 1997. Since then, progress has slipped a bit; in 2009, the mortality rate was back up to 17.7 per 100,000, higher than many other developed nations.

For the study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the researchers reviewed the medical records of 207 pregnancy-related deaths in California from 2002 to 2005. In 41 percent of the deaths, there was a good-to-strong chance of preventing the outcome.