The majority of pregnancies in the United States are complication free and the majority of births go well. So yours is likely to progress without a problem. Kind of reassuring to hear, right? Midwives tell this to their clients all the time. The information is passed from mother to mother, friend to friend, sister to sister.
"Birth is as safe as life gets."
"Birth is a normal event."
But what if....
You develop gestational diabetes? It happens in 2-10% of all American pregnancies
You give birth prematurely? 12% of U.S. births are premature.
You develop pre-eclampsia? 5 to 8% of pregnancies worldwide develop pre-eclampsia.
You have a postpartum hemorrhage? This happens in 18% of births; 3% of these are severe PPH.
You have a placental abruption? This happens in 1% or less of pregnancies.
You have a cord prolapse? This occurs in less than 1% of all deliveries.
Sure these sound rare. But think about what the word percent means. It means per 100.
In other words:
1 out of 100-120 women have a placental abruption.
12 out 100 babies will be born premature.
5-8 women out of 100 will develop pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy
18 out of 100 women will have a post partum hemmorhage during delivery.
Think about how many other women you know and see. You have friends from high school, college, work, birthing classes, mommy groups, and the coffeehouse. You know women on Facebook. You see other moms dropping off their kids at school. You pass by them in the diaper aisle at Target.
Approximately 11000 babies are born each day in the United States.
In one week, 77,000 babies are being born.
The university hospital in my college town community sees 4000 births a year. The county population is around 345,000.
Think about all the pregnant women running around the United States as we speak. Hundreds of thousands.
One hundred is not a lot in this modern world. Chances are you talk to, walk by, and look at women everyday who have had some of these "rare" complications with pregnancy and delivery. Chances are you know one. Or more.
Does 1% still sound rare?