Alarming increase in maternal mortality rate: ABC News San Francisco

I’m starting to see more and more news of an increase in maternal mortality rates in the United States. This particular piece is from ABC News from San Francisco; reporting on the steady and dramatic increase of maternal mortality rates since 1996. This is very concerning. Isn’t our maternal mortality rate supposed to decline? Why has it returned to rates seen in the 1970’s? Aren’t we supposed to be getting the best care possible? Aren’t we more educated and informed regarding our childbirth options and health during pregnancy? Every day I work with individuals and couples trying to build their family. None of them are thinking they will die during childbirth. It’s hard to comprehend that this could even happen.  Is it the fact that c-sections are more common or could morbid obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes be possible contributing factors? I hope to see more information soon about this study in California and elsewhere and hope they can determine the cause of the increase and enact measures to decreases the rate of maternal mortality.