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Monroe Co. Leaders Host Community Conversation On Maternal Mortality

The state formed a committee this year to investigate each case and the individual cause of maternal deaths. (WFIU/WTIU News)

More than 700 women die in the U.S. from pregnancy related complications each year. Indiana has the third highest maternal mortality rate in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A community conversation in Monroe County Thursday night, hsoted by advocacy group Building a Thriving Compassionate Community, focused on ways to improve that maternal mortality rate.

Dr. Camila Arnaudo is a psychiatrist for IU Health. She says there needs to be a greater focus on informed patient consent and individualized care for mothers.

“The most important thing is to listen to women and to make women feel empowered, and feel like if you’re feeling something in your body that doesn’t feel right, ask for help," Arnaudo says. "You have the right to ask for help.”

Arnaudo also serves on the Maternal Mortality Review Board, a state committee formed this year to investigate each case and the individual cause of death.

Arnaudo says maternal mortality rates are even higher for African American women.

She says low wages, rural health care and affordable health insurance contribute to the troubling statistics during all stages of pregnancy.

“People think, ‘oh well I’m not pregnant anymore there’s nothing to worry about, I’m fine now, I survived,'" Arnaudo says. "But I think the idea is to tell people is that some of the complications can happen even after." 

The CDC estimates nearly 80 percent of maternal deaths happen outside of the delivery room and nearly 60 percent are preventable.

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