Excerpt from article on maternal health on Humanosphere:
By Amy VanderZanden
Maternal mortality is a popular subject in global health, but what about the many women who suffer disability as a result of pregnancy and childbirth?
While pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period are not remotely easy for women in the United States, compared to some parts of the world, it could be considered a fairly straightforward life event.
Maternal morbidity includes side effects like diabetes and excessive weight gain, but also such potentially life-threatening issues as sepsis, eclampsia, maternal hypertension, hemorrhage, uterine prolapse, infertility or any other of a long list of health outcomes. Maternal morbidity can be physical or psychological, and can result from direct or indirect causes which can have a lifetime impact on a woman’s health.
Uterine prolapse, for example, is most commonly caused by difficulty at childbirth. It can have drastic effects on a woman’s quality of life, impacting her ability to sit or walk; it can lead to back and abdominal pain, and make going to the bathroom difficult. Without surgery, prolapse can be permanently disabling.
Despite the fact that the majority of women globally have finished bearing children by the age of 45 or 49, the snapshot from the data visualization tool below shows that women can continue to suffer health problems from their childbearing years for the rest of their lives.
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