Despite how natural and normal birth is, complications can arise. Overall, modern medicine has done much to reduce and treat complications to improve outcomes for mothers and babies. However, the U.S. remains at the top of the list of maternal deaths out of all developed countries, with the numbers rising instead of falling as they are in other places around the world.
There are many reasons for this, including no access to healthcare and inconsistency in health care. Sometimes, providers act negligently and make a fatal mistake. Another contributing factor is the change in medical staff’s attention and education from caring for both mothers and babies to only babies.
Lower mortality rates in babies
The good news is infant mortality rates have significantly decreased. Preventive care and treatment of medical conditions have improved substantially, giving babies better chances of living, especially those born prematurely or with special needs.
Less focus on mothers
The bad news is that healthy babies have come at the cost of insufficient care for mothers, reports NPR. Medical professionals may falsely assume mothers are not in danger and not give enough attention to the women’s well-being. In fact, some health professionals do not even receive proper training on maternal care or even have hands-on experience in labor and delivery units before practicing.
Things are no better at the state and federal levels. States spend most of their grants on programs for children than on ones for mothers. Government health insurance also offers more and longer coverage for children than for the women who carried them.
When more monitoring and resources are available to a newborn than to the mother, it puts the baby at risk of losing the very person who gave him or her life. Focus on babies should not decrease. Rather, pregnant, laboring and postpartum women should receive just as much dedication to their safety and survival as their infants.