The United States has the highest maternal mortality rates within developed countries. Does the lack of attention or the lack of access to healthcare cause maternal deaths within the United States? Maternal patients make their best argument for the cause of maternal mortality rates within the United States when they say, mothers lack attention during childbirth.
Proponents believe that there is a greater focus on infant safety during childbirth than on the mother’s health. According to ProPublica and NPR’s reporting, there has been a great emphasize of fetal care as an assumption has been made over the years that maternal mortality has been conquered. Barbara Levy, a member of Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care, stated that during childbirth, they worry a lot about the little babies because they’re vulnerable. “Meanwhile, we don’t pay enough attention to those things that can be catastrophic for women,”(Barbara Levy) which shows that the mothers during childbirth are at risk as not enough attention is provided to them because doctors and nurse believe the baby is more vulnerable.
Mothers lack attention during childbirth because nurses are too focused on the infant. For example, a mother is supposed to be taught how to care for her infant and for herself after childbirth, but often times the nurses only focus on educating mothers about their new infants. A postpartum nurse’s responsibility is to care for the infant and the mother after childbirth. They are also supposed to provide the mother with information on how to care for herself and her new infant, but oftentimes fail to do so. Sometimes nurses only spend 10 minutes or less educating mothers about the risks they may encounter and the rest of the time educating them on how to care for their newborn. Although all mothers receive written materials to take home after childbirth that informs them on how to take care of themselves, those materials are often inconsistent and do not provide enough information. As nurses and doctors tend to focus more on informing the mother about her newborn, they fail to inform mothers about the threatening complications they may encounter.
Nurses and doctors often times forget that during childbirth, the mother can also face complications. “A study published Tuesday in MCN…surveyed 372 postpartum nurses nationwide and found that many of them were ill-informed about the dangers mother’s face after giving birth,” (Nina Martin) which shows that mothers lack attention during childbirth because many of their nurses are not well informed about the complications their patients may occur after childbirth. As many nurses lack the knowledge of life threatening complications that may occur after pregnancy, many mothers have suffered from maternal mortality as nurses fail to detect the symptoms of the life threatening complications within their patients.
For example, the story of Lauren Bloomstein demonstrates how mothers lack attention during childbirth. Lauren Bloomstein, a neonatal nurse and her husband, a doctor were expecting a girl on September 30th 2011. On that day the couple drove down to Monmouth Medical Center, the place where she had spent her career as a nurse. Lauren figured that, “If anyone would watch out for her and her baby…it would be the doctors and nurses she worked with on a daily basis.” Her deliver went great, but 90 minutes later she told her husband she wasn’t feeling well. After twenty hours of delivering her baby, she was dead. Her husband stated, “Lauren’s ob/gyn and nurses had failed to recognize a textbook case of one of the most common complications of pregnancy — not once, but repeatedly over two days,” showing how the lack of attention Lauren received caused her death. She did not die due to lack of access to healthcare, she died because her nurses and doctor failed to recognize the symptoms to her pregnancy complication. Just like Lauren’s story there are many that demonstrate the lack of attention that occurs during childbirth for mothers.
The various stories of mothers who suffered from maternal mortality demonstrate that a lack of attention for mothers is occurring during childbirth. Nurses and doctors have a greater focus on infant care, putting the mother at risk as not enough attention is evenly distributed between the two patients. The lack of attention is allowing threatening complications to advance within mothers as their symptoms are not identified on time, resulting in maternal deaths.