More Pregnancy-Related Deaths in Calif. Than in Bosnia, Kuwait: Report

New report highlights data on pregnancy complications in California

By Olsen Ebright
|  Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010  |  Updated 2:29 PM PDT
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More Pregnancy-Related Deaths in Calif. Than in Bosnia, Kuwait

Getty Images/Dougal Waters

A new report highlights shocking data on pregnancy complications in California.

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A new report highlights a rise in pregnancy-related deaths in California.

Based on the state's maternal mortality rate, it is actually more dangerous to give birth in California than it is in Kuwait or Bosnia, according to California Watch.

"The issue is how rapidly this rate has worsened. That's what's shocking," said Debra Bingham, who serves on a task force investigating the problem.

Over the last decade, the maternal mortality rate in California has nearly tripled. The national rate in 2006 was 13.3 per 100,000 (see chart right for state numbers).

California's Maternal
Mortality Rate
Year Rate
1996 5.6
1997 9.1
1998 6.7
1999 7.7
2000 10.9
2001 9.7
2002 10.0
2003 14.6
2004 11.7
2005 11.7
2006 16.9

Out of the about 500,000 live births in California in 2006, 95 women died from causes directly related to their pregnancies, according to the report.

According to estimates, less than 30 percent of the increase is attributable to better reporting on death certificates, California Watch reported.

The official report from the state has yet to be released.

"There was no effort to hold that report back. It just needed some more revisions," said Al Lundeen of the California Department of Public Health.

More: Q&A: Pregnancy-related deaths explained
More: CHART: Tracking maternal mortality rates

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