In this day and age, it feels like society has come far from the days where it was common for mothers to die during childbirth. But recent studies have shown a significant increase in maternal deaths related to pregnancies – up to twice as high in recent years since 1987.
In particular, expecting mothers seem to suffer from cardiovascular disease that ends up with deadly consequences. But how do these injuries affect mothers, and why is it an increasing issue?
Maternal deaths and cardiovascular illness
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a pregnancy mortality surveillance system that monitors maternal deaths related to pregnancies. They point out that heart disease serves as the leading cause of death in the U.S. in general, with half a million annual deaths relating to the cardiovascular system.
Mothers may suffer from cardiovascular illness before, during and after the pregnancy due to the amount of stress that pregnancy can put on the heart. For example, in the first trimester alone, many experience a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate. Meanwhile, the heart rate and blood pressure both rise in the second and third trimester, remaining that way until after the child’s birth.
Cardiac deterioration in later life
These illnesses, along with high blood pressure, diabetes and other pre-existing conditions, increase the rate of pregnancy-related deaths annually as well. Not only that, but pregnancy increases the chance of cardiovascular health deterioration in later life. People who developed preeclampsia, for example, are four times more likely to suffer from heart failure and suffer from a 71 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular-related death.
Seeking medical help can potentially help lower these risks. Regardless, understanding the risks in the first place is the best place to start.