I've heard people say that pregnancy is somehow dangerous for a woman.

I know that you can get high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes but that's usually among obese women. The conditions are also temporary.

I also know that during childbirth there can be complications.

How exactly is being pregnant bad for your health? It's a natural and normal biological process.

Let's focus on recent stats and healthy women between ages 20-35 who are not obese and don't have any pre-existing medical conditions.

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    Just because something is natural and normal doesn't make it healthy. Fever is natural and normal, allergies are natural and normal and they're both potentially lethal (but rarely)
    – Narusan
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 14:37
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    Look at ages on old tombstones in the US , many young women and some newborns will be listed. Much lower risk in the US today ,but clearly higher risk than not having a baby. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 15:27
  • @blacksmith37 And it is still much higher risk in the US than in other similarly developed countries.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 16:02
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    Despite having access to excellent medical care, a young woman in my community recently developed a strep infection following childbirth. It evolved into sepsis and she died. Infections are just one of several potentially lethal risks of pregnancy.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 17:51
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    Life is also a risk for health. If you live, you have a higher risk to get a disease than if you don't.
    – Jan
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


In the U.S., 14 in every 100 000 pregnancies are fatal for the mother. While this may not seem much, consider the following graphic:

enter image description here

In picture B and D the blue bars indicate deaths due to pregnancies. While those numbers have decreased since 1990, in 2010 they still accounted for a large proportion of deaths of women in that age group.

A selection of problems that can occur during a pregnancy (not ranked in any way)

  • Infections (due to open wounds during labor and birth)
  • Thrombosis (due to immovability)
  • Anemia (low count of red blood cells)
  • Heart failures (due to the strain put on the heart)

During a pregnancy, the woman's body supplies both the foetus and the mother with oxygen, blood and food. This puts a lot of strain on the organism. While humans are built so that they can handle it, it does increase the risks of the above and many more problems, so that pregnancy indeed is a risk factor.

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    It's worth noting, however, that pregnancies (especially below 30 years of age) and breastfeeding reduce the long-term risk of e.g. breast and ovarian cancer (this probably doesn't have an impact on life expectancy, though)
    – user14261
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 19:33
  • Another point which can alter the statistics is that women are having babies at older ages than in the past due to wanting to have a career first. Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 7:42
  • @ChrisRogers yes that's true. Also obesity, pre-existing conditions, etc. play a role. But for a healthy woman between ages 20 and 35 I'm seeing a very low chance that pregnancy could impact her health too much. Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 8:51
  • @ChrisRogers Narusan addresses the fundamental aspects, these additions are historically recent modulators. How about writing another A that addresses these changes (or international/regional differences)? Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 9:37
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    @user1261710 a) just look at the graph. The blue part is approximately 10% (give or take 2%), and it denotes death caused by maternal problems. Obviously we are only taking into account women who can conceive, so there’s no point to look at values of pre-teen or post-menopause women. I have heard and read about maternal deaths, but I have yet to come across any death caused by contraceptives. Studies found that those actually prolong life. For further discussion, please visit the Medical Sciences Chat
    – Narusan
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 20:37

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