Christy Turlington Burns draws from her own experience in effort to make pregnancy, childbirth safer

Giving birth can be a life-threatening process.

Former model Christy Turlington Burns wants to change that. Her organization, Every Mother Counts, is dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe.

Turlington Burns said on "CBS This Morning," "Almost every case is preventable -- 90 percent -- and in the U.S. where we have two to three deaths per day, 50 percent of those deaths (according to Every Mother Counts) are preventable as well."

It's a cause close to Turlington Burns' own experience. Ten years ago, while giving birth to her daughter, she experienced postpartum hemorrhage -- a leading cause of death in childbirth.

Women are dying of the same kinds of birth-related issues around the world, Turlington Burns said. "In the U.S. where we have access, for the most part -- there are hospitals, there are a number of providers, and yet, certain women fall through the cracks or, because of things like chronic conditions such as diabetes or obesity, women are more likely to need surgical intervention and that is now leading and contributing to the rising number of C-section and maternal deaths in the U.S."

Turlington Burns continued, "Most deaths are postpartum, so we have such a focus on delivery even in a number of countries, and we're making a decrease in maternal deaths, and yet, it's when they go home from a facility that they're actually dying and we're not counting them, so linking them to critical care, we're focused on education, on transportation, and on supplies."

A common issue for women is access to care, Turlington Burns explained. "A woman doesn't have the choice oftentimes in her home to seek care," she said. "It's somebody else making that decision."

On the transportation front, many women are living in rural areas -- including in the U.S. -- where access to care can be difficult. "If you live two hours away from a hospital or emergency obstetric care, a woman can bleed to death in less than two hours," Turlington Burns said. "So that's something that we're really focused on."

With those initiatives in mind, the former model is calling for people to honor mothers every day -- and not just on Mother's Day.

"It's wonderful that on this one day we spend $21 billion on women and mothers," Turlington Burns said. "If we care about mothers on the 11th of May -- there's 800 women dying on the 11th of May, 12th of May, on the 13th of May -- it continues. So we need to extend that respect and love of women and mothers throughout the year."

  • Amanda Cochran

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