Drug overdose and suicide are leading causes of death among California mothers within the first year after delivery, a recent study shows.
Professor Sidra Goldman-Mellor of UC Merced and Professor Claire Margerison of Michigan State University found that drug overdoses were the second-leading cause of postpartum death and suicide was the seventh in California. Both constitute around 20% of all California postpartum deaths from 2010-2012. The first was obstetric-related, or physical, causes.
Over the past few decades, pregnancy-related deaths have been steadily increasing across the U.S. Most research and preventive measures have focused on physical causes of death, such as blood clots and postpartum hemorrhage. However, deaths related to drugs and suicide have rarely been part of the conversation, the researchers said.