About 700 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications, according to the CDC. Monday they launched “Hear Her”, a campaign to raise awareness and provide educational material to empower pregnant and postpartum women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows there are considerable racial disparities; women who are Black, American Indian, or Alaska Native are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.
There is a website with more information on the CDC’s site, that includes personal stories from women who had serious complications, and a list of signs to watch out for to discuss with your doctor. Some of these symptoms include headaches that won’t go away, fever, extreme swelling, severe belly pain, and overwhelming tiredness.
“Pregnancy and childbirth should not place a mother’s life in jeopardy, yet in far too many instances, women are dying from complications,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, in a statement. “This seminal campaign is intended to disrupt the too-familiar pattern of preventable maternal mortality and encourage everyone in a woman’s life to be attentive and supportive of her health during this important time.”
The campaign is focused on women who are pregnant, new mothers, and their friends and family engaging in conversations and talking about health concerns.
“A woman knows her body. Listening and acting upon her concerns during or after pregnancy could save her life,” said Wanda Barfield, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
According to CDC data, about one third of maternal deaths happen during pregnancy, about a third happen during delivery or within a week of having a baby, and the remaining third happen between one week and one year postpartum.