Why giving birth in the U.S. is surprisingly deadly

Black mothers are particularly at risk. Better basic care could help.

Casey Otto Haubelt greets the world after he was delivered by cesarean section last June at the Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women in Houston. Loren Denise Haubelt, 30, required an emergency hysterectomy after Casey’s birth to address placenta increta, a condition in which the placenta grows into the uterine muscle.

There are times when flip-flops and sweatpants seem appropriate. At a Saturday afternoon picnic in the park. Or at the county fair. Or when you’re a couple preparing for the arrival of Baby Number Two. Comfort is key.

But something made Kira Johnson, 39, change her mind on the evening of April 11, 2016.

“Babe, I want to look really pretty for Langston,” she told her husband, Charles Johnson IV, as she sat before her bedroom mirror brushing her hair. The next afternoon they would head to Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for the birth of their second son.

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