An introduction to maternal mortality

Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Spring;1(2):77-81.


Approximately 529,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes annually and almost all (99%) of these maternal deaths occur in developing nations. One of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals is to reduce the maternal mortality rate by 75% by 2015. Causes of maternal mortality include postpartum hemorrhage, eclampsia, obstructed labor, and sepsis. Many developing nations lack adequate health care and family planning, and pregnant women have minimal access to skilled labor and emergency care. Basic emergency obstetric interventions, such as antibiotics, oxytocics, anticonvulsants, manual removal of placenta, and instrumented vaginal delivery, are vital to improve the chance of survival.

Keywords: Maternal mortality; Postpartum hemorrhage; Unsafe abortions.