Among developed countries, the United States is the leader in maternal mortality. This is, unfortunately, the wrong kind of leadership—the mortality rate has been increasing. Fortunately, infant mortality in the United States is relatively low.
One reason for the higher mortality rate is that women are giving birth at an older age than in the past, thus increasing the likelihood of complications and death. In general, women seem to be waiting on families because of economic concerns. This is yet another way in which economic injustice and instability literally kills people. As such, one way to address the mortality rate is crafting an economy that is more just and more stable—something the Republicans seem to vehemently oppose and Democrats seem incapable of doing.
While there is a significant political push against birth control, health care and reproductive clinics, another reason deaths have increased is that many pregnancies are unplanned, so women do not have the opportunity to address health issues before getting pregnant. One part of the solution is to improve family planning availability; although the push is for reducing such access. Another part of the solutions falls on individuals—they should take better care of themselves. Not just for cases of pregnancy, but in general. While people often want the state to legislate solutions, personal responsibility is a critical part of addressing this problem.
A third factor is that C-sections have increased. While some note that some doctors and hospitals like C-sections because they can schedule them, there is a variety of other reasons for the increase. While C-sections are necessary in some cases, in other cases they increase the health risks for the mother and baby. As such, the efforts to reduce the number of unnecessary C-sections should increase. One major obstacle is composed of the various economic factors that contribute to the number of unnecessary C-Sections, these could prove difficult to address in the context of profit-driven health care.
A fourth factor, which contributes to general poor health outcomes across the population, is that the United States health system is highly fragmented and compartmentalized. As such, new mothers can face health threatening challenges when they try to navigate this system. While there have been efforts to create a more unified health system, the trend does not look promising. Tied into this factor is the other general issue of affordable health care. As Trump and the Republicans promised, they are working hard to dismantle the existing system but seem to have little interest in addressing the problems that Obamacare tried to plaster over. Since the solution would be a well-designed health care system, it seems unlikely that this aspect of the problem will be solved in the foreseeable future. Unless the Republicans decide to take positive steps or the Democrats win enough seats to implement a viable plan.
In closing, it should be noted that while health care for the general population is a low priority for the current administration and most Republicans; the health care of women is an even lower priority. In fact, the main political focus has been on the issue of abortion and holding such clinics hostage with the threat of cutting federal funding.