California deaths from pregnancy rise

The mortality rate of California women who die from causes directly related to pregnancy has tripled in the past decade, prompting doctors to worry about the dangers of obesity in expectant mothers and about medical complications of Caesarean sections.

For the past seven months, the state Department of Public Health has declined to release a report outlining the trend. Investigators who wrote the report, however, confirmed it shows the most significant spike in pregnancy-related deaths since the 1930s.

"The issue is how rapidly this rate has worsened," said Debra Bingham, executive director of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, the public-private task force investigating the problem for the state.

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