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The Status of Motherhood in the US

All is not well with the status of motherhood in the United States. While we’ve become more empowered in our right to choose whether or not we want children and how we balance family life, we’ve not fully claimed our power in the way it all begins: birth.

You would imagine that the wealthiest country in the world would take care of its mothers.

And yet…

We fall behind 49 other countries in our rate of maternal death, despite spending more per capita on maternity care than any other nation.

A woman giving birth in the US today is more likely to die in childbirth than her mother was…an unacceptable fact in this progress proclaiming nation. In fact, no progress has been made in twenty years.

Something is wrong. It’s not a woman’s ability to give birth. Our bodies are wise and have been capable since the beginning of time.

It’s extremely difficult to pinpoint just what is going wrong because we have no accurate system for recording and reviewing maternal deaths. Only six out of fifty states make it mandatory to report maternal deaths. Another unacceptable fact.

I wonder how this is possible in this great nation of ours. The time is clearly ripe for mothers to unite in critical masses and accelerate change.

We have a huge opportunity in this. We are actually being called to birth our own potentials to create a different world. A world where a woman giving birth is not losing her human rights, but is rather a woman claiming her awesome creative power. Read more in my article on Gender Across Borders. And let me know your thoughts!

**If you live in the US, please use this one click tool to contact your members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor the Maternal Health Accountability Act (HR 894) which will give states the resources to report and investigate all pregnancy-related deaths.


Greengirl's picture


Hello Carrie, your cause is very laudable. In the event that the Maternal health Accountability Act (HR 894) is signed into law, it would not be a victory for mothers in the USA alone, but one for Motherhood worldwide. I also read your article "birthing our own potential" and I find it quite revealing. Who would ever believe that a developed country like the United States could have such statistics of high maternal deaths. I also appreciate your comparative analysis of maternal experiences outside the United States; which I find very informative and considerate. Thank you for sharing in such a revealing manner.
I wish you the very best as you see your cause through.

Best Wishes,


Breese's picture

Hey Olanike, just wanted to

Hey Olanike, just wanted to make sure you saw Carrie's reply posted below :)

Greengirl's picture

Thanks Breese

I didn't receive an earlier notification. The mix up does happen sometimes, I suppose. All the same, I am grateful to you for alerting me about Carrie's very welcome response.

Breese's picture

You only receive an alert of

You only receive an alert of a reply to your comments if the person responds by clicking "reply" under your post. If they simply post another comment underneath, you will not receive an email alert. That said, you can use your personal Track tab to check for updates on any of your posts or posts you comented on. Click here to learn more in the Frequently Asked Questions page:

Greengirl's picture

Thank you

I am learning a lot by the day Breese. I will do as you suggested. Many thanks!

Olanike Olugboji

Breese's picture

So glad that was helpful :)

So glad that was helpful :) Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions.

Greengirl's picture

Hello Breese

Your direction was helpful. Thank you for being there.

Olanike Olugboji

Carrie Lee's picture

Thank you!

Hi Olanike,
I'm so grateful for your thoughts! Thank you for pointing out that new laws around Maternal Health are victories for mothers everywhere, not just the country in which they are passed. It's so true! Because we are all connected. Any time we create change, it follows that the whole world changes.
Thank you for your thoughtful feedback and well wishes!
All the best to you as well,

Greengirl's picture

Always Carrie!

You are welcome always.

usha kc's picture

Carrie first of all I would

Carrie first of all I would like to give a big thanx for writting onn maternal issue. I wonder to know about the rate of maternal death in such developed country. We living in a developing always can not think even can not imagine such a poor situaion of motherhood!
your article tells that whereever we live in the common things for we women is being victim in anymeans.
Very instructive article loved to read and thank you for shaing.
I join with your voice.

olutosin's picture


Thanks for this nice piece though bad news.

It has not other name, it is violence against women, it happens everywhere then, may we strive to deliver ourselved from patriarchy that has no respect for women.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


Thank you Usha and Olutosin! It is through your responses that I am gaining deeper insight, thank you. It's the whole planet facing these issues, not just individual countries. We are ALL being met with injustices and through them creating change for a better world. The de-valuation of women can come in many forms, and in the US, it's time to take a look in a national mirror.

Breese's picture

Hi Carrie - just a note to

Hi Carrie - just a note to help you continue these great conversations. Under each comment, there's a small button that says "Reply". If you want to respond to a comment, click that and you will see a comment box to write in. By posting replies through this feature, the person receives an email alert notifying them of your message. If you simply reply in a separate comment below, they won't get an email notification. Using the "reply" feature helps ensure they recieve your message and can respond. Let me know if you have any questions.

Carrie Lee's picture


Hi Breese, thanks for the tip! This is very helpful...As I've been wondering how to ensure that people see the responses! Thanks!!

Breese's picture

Happy to help! You can use

Happy to help! You can use this to reply to any other comments you've responded to to ensure that they see your message.

Kenia's picture



Perhaps you have already covered this topic (This is the first post of yours I have ever read, so I wouldn't know!), but I was wondering if there is a connection between the rise in maternal deaths, and the rise of the (unne)cesarean?
I know there is very little in terms of records (which I find INCREDIBLY shocking!! I had NO idea!!! I always assumed ALL deaths were recorded, across the board, no matter what.), but I was wondering if there is an literature that speculates the possibility of some sort of connection? (Maybe there isn't enough records to show causation, but I wonder if any correlation has been found?)

Thank you for your insightful words,

Kenia Perez

Carrie Lee's picture


Hi Kenia,
You bring up a very good point. It is hard not to make our own correlations when we look at how the national rate of C-sections has risen right alongside the rising mortality rate. It's hard to ignore the fact that we've made no progress in outcomes in 20 years (when the C-section rate was around 5%) to now (with a rate around 33%).
Unfortunately, I don't know of any specific studies that show this correlation. However, we childbearing women are catching on! More mainstream education is needed around how all the medical interventions cascade or snowball one after the other, leading to too many unnecessary C-sections, putting too many women at risk.

Thanks so much for bringing attention to this!

Kenia's picture


Wow. 5% to 33% is a HUGE jump!

Please do let me know if you ever find out anything concerning this. I would love to know. I understand that c-sections are absolutely medically necessary in some cases. But the high number of them raises a red flag.

Education is key! :) This information is, unfortunately, not put "out there" as much as is should be.

Kenia Perez

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