Saving Mothers: Reducing Maternal Mortality and Correcting the Course of Birth in the United States

Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis



Reader 1

Seo Young Park

Reader 2

Pardis Mahdavi

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© 2014 Katelyn E. Muir


Every year roughly 350,000 women die during childbirth, primarily from preventable causes. The developing world accounts for the majority of this number, and in many regions maternal mortality rates are currently increasing despite the advancements our world has seen in the past decades. Maternal mortality has become a global issue, with international initiatives being launched around the globe. However, this problem hits closer to home than many Americans may know. The United States has the highest GDP in the world, yet it has only the 48th lowest maternal mortality rate. In addition, the past decade has seen our national maternal mortality rate increase rather than decrease. Throughout my study I explore why the United States is not a safer nation for women to give birth in considering our status as a wealthy, developed nation. In doing so I expose the problems inherent in the American medical system and the roots of those problems in larger cultural and social issues. Beneath this is an examination of the history of midwifery in the United States and an argument for increased use of midwives by American mothers and increased collaboration between midwives and the American medical system.


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