Tuesday , February 27 2024

To Make Childbirth Safer, Look No Further Than Valley Hospitals

High-risk childbirths for celebrity mothers like tennis star Serena Williams and performer Beyonce are shining a light on a health story that’s historically flown under the radar: Childbirth is risky for women, particularly women of color. Williams, Beyonce and their babies all survived, but the U.S. does have the one of highest rates of mothers dying in childbirth of any developed country. Alarmingly, that rate rose 65 percent from 2006-2013. Simultaneously, however, California slashed its own maternal mortality rate in half —and much of that improvement is being driven at the local level. The birthing unit at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno is bustling. Nurse midwife Lorraine Farkas, a smile permanently on her face, stands in blue scrubs near a nursing station, a fetal monitor pulsing nearby. She says the providers on these two floors deliver around 450 babies a month. “When you think of that in kindergarten sizes, just imagine,” she laughs. As Farkas walks me through the

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