State Legislature to Address High Maternal Mortality Rates
EDINBURG – An obstetrics and gynecology study discovered Texas’ maternal mortality rate nearly doubled between 2010 and 2014. The sharp increase in deaths sparked the state's legislature to create the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force in 2013.
South Texas Health System's Dr. Thiendella Diagne said he's glad the state legislature is taking action on maternal mortality.
"The maternal mortality rate is outstanding," he said. "And in this day and age, it's quite unacceptable."
The rate is higher than any other state.
"The highest contributing factors in the Rio Grande Valley is access to care, low socio-economic status, and the presence of providers who are poorly skilled at managing pregnancy," Dr. Diagne said.
Members of the task force were assigned to find out why mothers are dying in Texas at such an alarming rate. Dr. Diagne said most of the risk factors found in the study are a problem in the Valley.
"There's more substance abuse, more obesity, more depression. All of those contribute to poor maternal outcomes," he said.
Dr. Diagne said mothers with all those high-risk factors are most likely to be okay if they get pre-natal care from a trained, licensed professional.
Unfortunately, he said many of those high-risk women don't see a doctor until they have an emergency during or right after labor.
"Most of the time, I'd say 99 percent of the time, we can save them. But unfortunately there's the 1 percent of the time where it's just too late," he said.
Lawmakers in Austin are looking to expand the research on the maternal death crisis in an effort to prevent it.
Click here to read the study from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Journal.
The Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force can be read below.
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