MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A new report from the Alabama Department of Public Health has come out. In their newest report after examining data from 2020, Alabama ranks number three in the country for most maternal mortalities having 36.4 deaths per 100,000 live births.
The Alabama Department of Public Health says more than 55 percent of deaths were preventable, and most of the deaths had multiple contributing factors.
Trey Cox from Saraland lost his wife, Lydia in July of last year. She’s had four children all-natural births, so they didn’t think the fifth one would be an issue.
Cox said she wanted to give the gift of life to another couple, so she became a surrogate. When Lydia tried to give birth, Cox started noticing problems. Lydia suffered with Amniotic Fluid Embolism which is a rare, but serious condition that occurs when the fluid that surrounds a baby in the uterus enters the mother’s bloodstream.
Cox was devastated when he had to break the news of his wife’s death to the family.
“I mean, I lost it.” said Cox, “I had to come home and tell five children that she was gone, you know? Her oldest son she had when we first met, he had lost his dad when he was five. And so, it was me and five boys. It resulted in PTSD with me.”
Causes of maternal mortalities according to the report are mostly cardiovascular-related, substance abuse, or infections. Amniotic Fluid Embolism is one of the cardiovascular-related causes. Cox says changes need to be implemented in order to help prevent more maternal deaths.
“There needs to be changes. Whether it be women’s health, mental health, as I’ve went through this past year.” said Cox. “It is very hard to get good help for that. Like we were talking about, 56, 57 percent of the death rate was preventable, but part of that preventable is substance abuse.”
Cox pushes for more education and more awareness on maternal mortality, so less deaths will occur in the future.
“Educate yourself, don’t just rely on someone else to tell you what you need to do and what you don’t need to be doing.” said Cox, “Educate yourself. Ask those important questions. Nobody knows a woman’s body more than the woman himself.”
The committee from the Alabama Department of Public Health says they encourage autopsies be performed for every case of maternal death, and more state funding needs to go to autopsies to help better determine the causes.
Cox hopes his story will be able to help people understand the severity of maternal mortalities.