Pay attention to your body! Are you pregnant? Have you given birth within the past year? Your body may be giving you important warning signs!
Life or death Did you know that about 700 women die each year in the United States from complications due to pregnancy?
Preventable! Prevent an unnecessary death—your own or someone else’s. Three in five deaths of pregnant women and mothers who have given birth within the past year are preventable.
Don’t become a statistic! And help others so they don’t become statistics!
Tell your partner, friends and family! Most people don’t know about maternal deaths and the urgent warning signs. These signs can occur for up to 12 months following the end of pregnancy.
It’s important to spread the word, even though it’s rare for these deaths to occur. Knowing about these complications could save lives.
Learn the urgent warning signs! Make sure to pay attention to these urgent warning signs:
If you are pregnant, these symptoms could be serious:
• Baby’s movement stops or slows down
• Vaginal bleeding or fluid leaking
If you are pregnant or have given birth within the past year , pay special attention to these symptoms:
• Headache that won’t go away or gets worse over time
• Dizziness or fainting
• Changes in your vision
• Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
• Extreme swelling of hands or face
• Thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
• Trouble breathing
• Chest pain
• Fast-beating heart
• Severe nausea and throwing up
• Severe belly pain that won’t go away
• Heavy vaginal bleeding or leaking fluid that smells bad after pregnancy
• Severe swelling of your leg or arm, redness or pain
• Overwhelming tiredness
Other symptoms? There may be other symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
How to talk to your healthcare provider When you visit your nurse and doctor, be sure to
• Say you are pregnant or have given birth within the past year.
• Describe any other health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes.
• Talk about any complications you experienced with your pregnancy or delivery.
• If you don’t understand something the doctor nurse tells you, try not to be embarrassed. It’s important for you to get the answers you need.
• Bring a family member or friend with you if you can. This person can give you support and help you ask your questions.
HEAR HER The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) created the HEAR HER campaign to raise awareness about preventable maternal death and its urgent warning signs.
When do maternal deaths happen? The CDC says that
• 31% of pregnancy-related deaths happen during pregnancy.
• 36% of these deaths happen during delivery and up to 1 week afterward.
• 33% of these deaths happen between 1 week after the baby’s birth and 1 year after the baby’s birth.
Health disparities During the first year after giving birth to a live infant, the death rate for African American mothers is much higher than for mothers of all other races and ethnicities.
For example Of 100,000 African American moms who give birth to live infants, approximately 43 of these mothers die. Of 100,000 Caucasian moms who give birth to live infants, approximately 13 of these mothers die.
Why these health disparities? Researchers are still trying to learn all the reasons for health disparities.
Addressing challenges Many people are working to address the challenges that may account for health disparities, such as racism, inadequate education, poor living conditions, unemployment, lack of access to nutritious food, lack of access to high quality medical care, and more.
South LA Health Projects and WIC We are very concerned about the tragedy of maternal deaths.
We urge women, their families and friends to watch carefully for the urgent warning signs of pregnancy-related complications.