Key facts on maternal mortality and ways women’s lives can be saved

Key facts on maternal mortality and ways women’s lives can be saved

Key facts
✓ Every day, approximately nearly 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
✓ 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
✓ Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.
✓ Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than other women

Why do women die?

Women die as a result of complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these complications develop during pregnancy and most are preventable or treatable. Other complications may exist before pregnancy but are worsened during pregnancy, especially if not managed as part of the woman’s care. The major complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are:
  1. Severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth)
  2. Infections (usually after childbirth)
  3. High blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)
  4. Complications from delivery
  5. Unsafe abortion.
The remainder is caused by or associated with diseases such as malaria, and AIDS during pregnancy.

How can women’s lives be saved?

Most maternal deaths are preventable, as the health-care solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known. All women need access to antenatal care in pregnancy, skilled care during childbirth, and care and support in the weeks after childbirth

*Severe bleeding after birth can kill a healthy woman within hours if she is unattended. Injecting oxytocin immediately after childbirth effectively reduces the risk of bleeding.
  • Infection after childbirth can be eliminated if good hygiene is practiced and if early signs of infection are recognized and treated in a timely manner.
  • Pre-eclampsia should be detected and appropriately managed before the onset of convulsions (eclampsia) and other life-threatening complications. Administering drugs such as magnesium sulfate for pre-eclampsia can lower a woman’s risk of developing eclampsia.
To avoid maternal deaths, it is also vital to prevent unwanted and too-early pregnancies.
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