The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is the highest among affluent nations. Researchers believe that with better education, postpartum nurses could help mothers identify life-threatening complications.
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Salma Shabaik holds her newborn son, Ali. When he was born, she held him naked against her bare skin, a practice called kangaroo care. Ali is wearing an ear cap to correct a lop ear.
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Tricia Olson takes a selfie of herself and her son Augustus, or Gus, who sits in his car seat. Olson took three weeks of unpaid leave from her job at a towing company in Rock Springs, Wyo., after giving birth.
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The upshot from a study of more than 75,000 low-risk births is that "childbirth in the United States is very safe regardless of where you decide to do it," says Dr. Michael Greene, who directs obstetrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
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