Heartland moms react to news of pregnancy-related deaths increas - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland moms react to news of pregnancy-related deaths increasing

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According to the newest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, pregnancy-related deaths continue to increase. According to the newest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, pregnancy-related deaths continue to increase.
Research finds death have doubled in the last twenty-five years. Research finds death have doubled in the last twenty-five years.
Some nursing schools in Missouri are putting more emphasis on emergency simulations, hospitals are implementing programs to work with over-weight, diabetic moms, and other at-risk moms. Some nursing schools in Missouri are putting more emphasis on emergency simulations, hospitals are implementing programs to work with over-weight, diabetic moms, and other at-risk moms.
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Frustrating news for doctors and moms-to–be: according to the newest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, pregnancy-related deaths continue to increase.

Research finds death have doubled in the last twenty-five years.

Now doctors and moms want to know why and what can be done to reverse the statistics.

While experts can't point to one specific reason why deaths and also severe complications are climbing, local doctors and experts agree research is needed to identify risk factors. Meanwhile moms who talked to Heartland News say educating themselves about their own health and different ways to manage each individual pregnancy – from diet to delivery made all the difference.

"So many times just thinking that your doctor will have all the answers and not taking time to do your own research can be a hindrance to a mother's health and they may not realize it," said Brooke Uchtman, a mother of two and Certified Childbirth Education. "Yes you need to talk to your doctor but you need to have that informed dialogue which whoever is guiding you as well."

Utchtman along with other mothers, Alicia Schumer, Kristal Flentge and Jessica Wheeler were concerned but not surprised by the high numbers of pregnancy-related deaths and near fatal complications in recent years. According to the CDC, since 1987 figures doubled to nearly 700 deaths a year in 2008, the most recent numbers tallied. Meanwhile CDC researchers also discovered more than 52,000 will experience severe issues.

"So many women think can be fixed, that a doctor or that medicine can fix them," said Jessica Wheeler. Wheeler had two home births. She said it was a great choice for her as she worked to monitor her health and her baby's. "We have to work to be healthy to and choose the path that's right for you."

"You have to realize you're now responsible for another life and take charge," said Alicia Schumer, a mother of a little girl with another baby on the way. "I had a hospital birth and I exercised, watched my diet and worked right up until I had her. It was great for me but it all of my choices may not have been exactly the path for someone else. But all moms need to research those areas for themselves. We can't take it for granted that we live in a time when it's all just going to work out."

While some deaths stump doctors, experts find pre-existing conditions can contribute, things like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They've also seen a rise in strokes. Doctors say it's hard for everyone to understand when a mother that appears to be healthy suddenly dies. That's why may medical professionals and moms thinks more questions and voice of concerns on their end along with complied research would lead to change.

"You don't have to go into it thinking that your doctor has all the answers," said Kristal Flentge, a mother of a little boy and a little girl. Her son was born in a hospital, while she choose home birth for her daughter. "You can find out what tests are necessary during my pregnancy you can find out how to take care of yourself during your pregnancy."

Flentge says she's become passionate about encouraging mothers to get the facts about pregnancy and childbirth and look at it as a positive experience.

"It's all what you make of it," said Flentge. "Even if you have fears you can take control of your health and your babies health and do everything you can to make it wonderful. It can be everything you think it should be and more."

Educators like Uchtman agree every experience in any setting can be wonderful. She teaches The Bradley Method which focuses on working with husbands as coaches for natural childbirth. That's also the method she chose when delivering her children. She did give birth in a hospital.

"It's interesting all four of us had slightly different methods to deliver," said Uchtman. "It just goes to show there's no one right way and there's no way. But you can find the right way for you."

Utchtman says the point it they realize there are no guarantees, but by engaging yourself and truly investing in the experience you may prevent some issues or discover things you didn't expect.

"You can ask for the tests necessary to see which is best for your overall health and the health of your baby. It can make a big difference and it can be an awesome experience. Everybody hears a horror story about giving birth but it doesn't have to be like that," said Utchman.

The emphasis here, it's all about the planning and preparation.

"Then if something arises you can deal with it," said Schumer. "We realize we can't prevent everything, but we aren't helpless."

In Missouri and across the country, researchers say success stories of high-risk births can happen when moms and doctors work as a team to pinpoint and prepare for potential problems. Some doctors are calling for the medical community to devote intense research and priority in fine-turning mothers' health to identify risks and respond to emergencies. Many say that area needs the same kind of emphasis that led to better outcomes for premature babies.

Meanwhile some nursing schools in Missouri are putting more emphasis on emergency simulations, hospitals are implementing programs to work with over-weight, diabetic moms, and other at-risk moms. Other facilities are keeping new mothers in intensive care units longer.

Bottom line moms say you have to talk to your doctor and ask for tests if you're concerned or even just to be safe. Several local hospitals and also state wide in Missouri and Illinois are adjusting policies to better track and identify risk factors.

Missouri and Illinois have formed review committees to look into pregnancy related deaths.

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