Throughout the world, one woman dies during childbirth every 90 seconds . While the United States has seen an increase in maternal mortality, Belize is finding ways to improve maternal health.The World Health Organization reports that, with a rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies, the U.S. ranks behind more than 40 other countries . Some health officials say that an increase in the age of pregnant women, as well as obesity, diabetes, and the number of c-sections and induced labors have led to this increase . In California alone, the number of women who die during or after pregnancy has nearly tripled over the past 10 years . Experts believe that many of these deaths could have been prevented.
Meanwhile, in Belize maternal mortality rates are said to be decreasing thanks to programs focused on educating women about the importance of proper maternal care. The country is improving the accessibility of health care for expecting mothers and making sure there are enough facilities, personnel, and tools readily available for these women throughout the country . One of the biggest issues in Belize is that women are waiting until they are actually in labor before they see a doctor for the first time. So educating women about these issues has become a key component in Belize's plan to reduce their maternal mortality rate .
Samantha travels to Belize in January 2011 to begin her reporting on this critical issue.