Violence, Drugs, Mental Illness May Account for Half of Maternal Deaths [PsychCentral.com]

 

Intimate partner violence, substance use and mental illness may be as threatening to health and survival during pregnancy as medical issues, according to a new study.

In the study, researchers from the Boston University Medical Center note that mortality rates for pregnant women are increasing in the U.S. Many are due to medical causes thought to be directly related to pregnancy, such as hemorrhage, thromboembolism and hypertensive disease.

Although substance use, serious mental illness and intimate partner violence may also be exacerbated by pregnancy and are known to worsen perinatal outcomes, deaths specifically due to these causes are not included in current definitions of U.S. maternal mortality, the researchers noted.

For their study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers reviewed cases of all women who died during or within a year of pregnancy in Philadelphia from 2010 to 2014. They extracted cause of death, contributing factors and any recorded history of health care use from the case summaries created by the medical examiner’s office.

[For more of this story, written by Janice Wood, go to http://psychcentral.com/news/2...l-deaths/111166.html]

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