Maternal Deaths

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Overview

Maternal deaths are a dreadful complication of childbirth. For this reason, it is very important to monitor the process of childbirth very closely in order to either quickly diagnose and treat, or avoid altogether the conditions that cause maternal deaths. Some of the following complications of childbirth can lead to the death of the mother:

Symptoms

It is significant to recognize the signs and symptoms of some conditions that can lead to maternal death, so that early treatment can be started and maternal death can be avoided. The important symptoms of some conditions are discussed below:

  • Postpartum bleeding – expulsion of a large volume of blood from the vagina, up to 24 hours after childbirth, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, fainting
  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy – constantly high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Postpartum infections – fever, chills, lower abdominal pain, and bad smell from the vagina up to 10 days after childbirth

Causes

There are some complications that can lead to the development of these conditions, some of which are:

  • Postpartum bleeding – trauma to the uterus, bleeding disorders, retention of placental tissue
  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy – chronic high blood pressure, obesity, twins pregnancy, age of mother <20 or >40
  • Postpartum infections – retention of placental tissue, lacerations in the vaginal wall due to delivery, delivery in non-sterile conditions

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is made promptly on the basis of the symptoms.

Treatment

Early treatment is necessary in order to prevent maternal death:

  • Postpartum bleeding – oxytocin shot to stop the bleeding, blood transfusion to replace lost blood
  • Hypertensive disorders – monitor the blood pressure closely, and keep it under control for the duration of the pregnancy
  • Postpartum infection – antibiotics, find the underlying cause of infection and fix it
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