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Childbirth Is killing Black women at alarming rate

National

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 11/21/2017, noon
It was her second time lying numb in a hospital bed in North Bergen, N.J., with blood..

It was her second time lying numb in a hospital bed in North Bergen, N.J., with blood streaming down her legs and fear creeping into her heart. At that moment, Timoria McQueen Saba thought to herself, “there's no way in the world that I'm the only woman who had this happen.” In 2010, after giving birth vaginally to her oldest daughter, Gigi, one late afternoon in April, postpartum hemorrhage or excessive bleeding – the leading cause of maternal death worldwide – nearly killed her. Then, about a year later, she started bleeding profusely in the small bathroom of a frozen yogurt shop. The blood was from a miscarriage, which left her feeling helpless in that hospital bed. She didn't know she was pregnant. “I was all the way back to where I was the year before, and I realized ... I hadn't healed from the near-fatal traumatic experience the year before,” said Saba, now the 39-year-old mother of two girls. The former celebrity makeup artist decided to become a maternal health advocate, speaking on behalf of the 830 women who die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications every day around the world. That's about 303,000 a year, reports CNN. Each year in the U.S. about 700-1,000 women die from these pregnancy/childbirth complications, and Black women such as Saba are about three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy or delivery complications than White women. Saba said the data shocked her. It really took me a while to digest it,” she said, pointing out that she survived something that many others around the world haven't. Women in the United States are more likely to die from childbirth--or pregnancy-related causes--than other women in the developed world, and half of those deaths may be preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC's pregnant mortality surveillance system was implemented in 1986 to track maternal deaths. Since then, the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths nationwide steadily increased from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 17.8 per 100,000 in 2009 and 2011.