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British doctors have warned that an increasing number of women is dying in childbirth, because women are having babies later in life and are receiving poor quality care. The death rate is rising due to a larger number of high-risk pregnancies Catherine Nelson-Piercy, who is a professor of obstetric medicine at King's College London, said.

Nelson-Piercy and some of her colleagues wrote about the state of maternity care in Britain in the British Medical Journal. The team pointed out that a failure to diagnose medical problems and placing the importance of the baby's health over the mother's has resulted in these alarming statistics. They pointed out: Increasing numbers of women with often complex medical conditions are now becoming pregnant or seeking fertility treatment.

Women are delaying childbearing until later in life, and the menopause is no longer a barrier to pregnancy. Older women are more likely to be obese, have hypertension, or be predisposed to gestational diabetes and thromboembolism." And perhaps even more interesting is the following statement: "Most worryingly, the number of maternal deaths due to indirect causes has significantly increased over the past 20 years. Most of these deaths are associated with substandard care, and in one third of cases this is classified as major substandard care, where different care might have prevented death of the mother. These failings require urgent attention."

If you're British and pregnant or trying to conceive a baby, what should you do? We'd advise you to choose your OB with care if possible, and you can also look into midwifery care. Since medical problems are not always identified, according to this statement in the BMJ, paying additional attention to your own bodies and notifying your healthcare provider during prenatal appointments of anything unusual you have noticed is in order. And if you are not satisfied with your doctor, look for another one!

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