12/13/2012 03:02 pm ET

Do Moms-To-Be Have It Better Overseas?

Fact: the American maternal death rate is rising. Steeply. And although American women may be waiting longer to bear children, and more moms-to-be suffer from obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, blaming these moms for our birthing system’s failures -– an easy explanation even spokespeople from the CDC have leaned toward at times –- is off the mark. In fact, many of the complications that occur most often in new moms during, or shortly after, hospital deliveries occur in women whose pregnancies were categorized as low-risk. Thus, some hospitals are beginning to look within, so to speak, for explanations as to why the nation that spends more than any other on prenatal care and delivery now ranks so unfavorably, when compared with other developed nations, on the maternal mortality score.