Pregnancy and Childbirth Endanger Women’s Lives and Health: “Pregnancy Is Not a Benign Condition”

Pregnancy and Childbirth Endanger Women’s Lives and Health: “Pregnancy Is Not a Benign Condition”

Pregnancy and Childbirth Endanger Women’s Lives and Health: “Pregnancy Is Not a Benign Condition”


Why are we warned in such graphic detail about the minor risks of abortion but not at all about the enormous risks of carrying a pregnancy to term?

Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett suggested during oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that now that all 50 states have "safe haven" laws allowing mothers to relinquish parental rights after birth, the burdens of parenthood discussed in Roe and Casey are irrelevant, and the decisions are obsolete. Barrett's argument ignores the physical and psychological effects of pregnancy, labour, and childbirth, leaving aside the surprisingly callous assumption that giving up a baby is not burdensome.


Dr. Warren M. Hern, director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic, stated, "Pregnancy is not a benign condition." “Women die from pregnancy.”


In the United States in 2019, 754 women died as a result of pregnancy-related causes. Every year, another 50,000 to 60,000 women suffer serious health consequences as a result of pregnancy, labour, and childbirth.


"They die from hemorrhage, infection, pre-eclampsia (which can lead to fatal seizures), obstructed labour, amniotic fluid embolism, thromboembolism, a ruptured uterus, retained placenta, hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma, and many other causes," Hern explained.


The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, and this rate has been rising in recent years. The maternal mortality rate in 2019 was 20.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, which was significantly higher than the rate in 2018 (17.4) and nearly twice the rate in the United Kingdom (9.2).


"Pregnancy poses a ‘serious health risk,'" Hern said. "Whether she wants to be pregnant or not, a woman's life and health are jeopardized the moment a pregnancy exists in her body."


A woman's life and health are jeopardized the moment a pregnancy develops in her body, regardless of whether she wants to be pregnant or not.Dr. Warren M. Hern


Childbirth-related deaths are especially common among young women, low-income women, and women of colour. Black women are three times more likely than white women to die as a result of a pregnancy-related cause.


"Age (being an early adolescent is more dangerous), high blood pressure, many previous pregnancies, diabetes, obesity, a history of caesarean delivery, uterine abnormalities, a scarred cervix, and a placenta previa are all factors that put some women at a higher-than-average risk of death from pregnancy," Hern explained (in which the placenta covers the cervix). A placenta previa can cause fatal haemorrhage and necessitate a caesarean delivery (which has its own risks) because a normal vaginal delivery is impossible."


Pregnancy, even if uncomplicated, is extremely taxing on the human body. Nausea, fatigue, tender and swollen breasts, constipation, body aches, dizziness, sleep problems, heartburn and indigestion, hemorrhoids', itching, leg cramps, numb or tingling hands, swelling, urinary frequency or leaking, varicose veins, and carpal tunnel syndrome are all possible side effects of pregnancy. Pregnancy affects your cardiovascular system, kidneys, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, skin, hormones, liver, and metabolism. It increases blood volume by approximately 50% while depleting calcium from the pregnant woman's bones.


Pregnancy, labour, and childbirth are all unpleasant, painful, and harmful to many women's mental health. According to research, 12.4 per cent of pregnant women in the United States experience severe depression during their pregnancy, and 13.4 per cent of pregnant women experience postpartum depression. Another study discovered high levels of anxiety among pregnant and postpartum women: 35% during pregnancy, 17% immediately after childbirth, and 20% six weeks later.


Despite these numerous risks, patients are not informed about the dangers of pregnancy and childbirth, according to Dr. Deb Oyer of Cedar River Clinics in Washington state's Seattle area.


"People don't realise how dangerous pregnancy and childbirth are," said Oyer. "While we go into such great detail about informed consent for abortion, no one gets informed consent for having a baby." When you go in for your first obstetrical appointment at eight weeks, your doctor does not tell you, "You might die, and here are your options."


Even if you have no medical issues and are young and healthy, the risk of having a baby outweighs the risk of having an abortion.- Dr. Deb Oyer,

Why are women warned in gruesome detail about the minor risks of abortion but not told a word about the enormous risks of carrying a pregnancy to term?


"You should be getting actual informed consent at a time when you can still safely terminate the pregnancy," Oyer says. "Informing patients about the risks, benefits, and alternatives is part of informed consent." The risk of having a baby, even if you have no medical problems and are young and healthy, is far greater than the risk of having an abortion."


The Supreme Court is currently debating whether to allow states to prohibit abortion. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, 26 states are likely to outlaw abortion, and large swaths of the country, particularly in the South and Midwest, will be denied legal access to abortion. Many states will force women to continue their pregnancy and face the risks that come with it. Legal abortion protects women not only from the risks of illegal abortion, but also from the risks of pregnancy and childbirth if they do not want to take these enormous risks.


"Legal abortion has nearly eliminated the deaths of women from unsafe abortions and has had significant positive effects on other aspects of maternal and child health," Hern said. "It has been one of the greatest public health successes in medical history."






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