13 in 100,000 is a lot for a developed country, compared to what our own government says should be the expected maternal mortality rate: 4.3/100,000. For every maternal death, there are 50-70 'near-miss' events, and a larger number of severe maternal injuries. Maternal morbidity (injury) is the 4th leading cause of infant death in the US. Most women giving birth will be just fine, but although maternal death is rare, it is not a 'freak' occurrence -- most expert panels of maternal mortality estimate that between 50-70% of these deaths could have been prevented, through improvements in systems level responses (the right hospital; timely and relevant treatment for hemorrhage; clinician communication and training) as well as patient level factors. Most women giving birth are young, and healthy, and can withstand a lot of 'interventions' or 'errors' and survive. The point here is that death and injury are expensive in both financial and emotional terms and _unnecessary_. This is not scare tactics, but information based on data. Women going to the hospital to have a baby need a patient advocate at their side every bit as much as your grandmother. And we need to take the problem seriously because the trend is going in the wrong direction.