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Pregnancy 2023

Main causes of death in childbirth (and how to avoid it)

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Main causes of death in childbirth (and how to avoid it)
Main causes of death in childbirth (and how to avoid it)

The causes of maternal death during childbirth are related to diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or thrombophilia, which are problems that may already be present before pregnancy or develop during the gestational period.

One of the most common causes of a mother's death during childbirth is hemorrhage, which can occur immediately after delivery of the baby or in the first few days postpartum.

In the case of babies, the changes that can occur in the placenta or umbilical cord, such as rupture of arteries or placental detachment, are the most life-threatening, as the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the baby is harmed. In addition, babies who are born very premature also have a higher risk of death, due to immaturity of the organs.

Maternal death can happen during childbirth or up to 42 days after the baby is born, the most common causes being:

Causes of maternal death

Maternal death is more common when a woman has uncontrolled he alth conditions before or during pregnancy. Thus, in general, the main causes of maternal death are:

  • High blood pressure, preeclampsia or eclampsia;
  • Infection;
  • Abnormalities of uterine contraction;
  • Changes in the implementation/attachment of the placenta;
  • Complications of diseases that preexist or that developed during pregnancy.

Another situation that is associated with high levels of maternal mortality is postpartum hemorrhage, which is characterized by excessive blood loss after the baby is born, which can compromise organ function and result in death.Learn more about postpartum hemorrhage.

Causes of fetal death

In the case of the baby, death can occur during childbirth or in the first 28 days of birth, being more frequent due to placental insufficiency, extreme prematurity, congenital diseases or fetal malformations.

How to reduce risk

The best way to achieve a he althy pregnancy, so that the baby can develop and be born he althy, is to ensure that the woman has adequate assistance during pregnancy. For this you need:

  • Antenatal follow-up from the beginning of pregnancy to the time of delivery;
  • Performing all necessary tests during prenatal care;
  • Eat well, focusing on he althy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, grains and lean meats;
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week;
  • Control any existing disease by performing exams and following the treatment proposed by the doctor;
  • Get informed about childbirth. If you choose normal birth, prepare yourself physically and emotionally;
  • Do not take medication without medical advice;
  • Avoid excessive weight gain in pregnancy because heart changes increase the risk of death in childbirth;
  • Keep diabetes well controlled every day;
  • Prevent a woman from becoming pregnant again within a period of at least 1 year;
  • Iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy to prevent fetal malformations.

The risk of maternal and fetal death has decreased year after year in Brazil and worldwide due to prenatal care and the modern means of diagnosis and treatment currently available.

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