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Causes of Maternal Mortality

Maternal Mortality

Maternal Mortality is a very real concern, especially in developing parts of the world. Keep reading to learn about the causes of maternal mortality and what we can do to reduce the mortality rate. 

What is the Maternal Mortality Rate?

Maternal mortality refers to a woman who dies while pregnant, during childbirth, or within 6 weeks after pregnancy. The maternal mortality rate differs from country to country, and in 2017, the global maternal mortality ratio was 211 deaths per 100,000 births.

In 2017, around 810 women died every day due to pregnancy/childbirth issues. According to the WHO, 94% of all maternal deaths occur in lower income countries as well.

The maternal mortality rate is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by South Asia. However, the good news is that maternal mortality has significantly decreased in recent years.

Causes of Maternal Mortality

There are several common causes of  pregnancy/childbirth complications:

Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding after childbirth could cause severe harm to a mother in a matter of hours. If medical care is available, oxytocics or other medications can help suppress the bleeding.


If childbirth is done is a safe, sanitary area, the risk of infection is low. However, severe infections could potentially pose a risk to a woman’s life.Pregnant Woman


Preeclampsia is a condition where a woman develops high blood pressure during pregnancy. Symptoms usually begin after 20 weeks of pregnancy and can cause complications during birth. Diagnosing preeclampsia and monitoring the mother’s blood pressure is critical to ensure a smoother delivery.

Delivery Complications

Other than preeclampsia, conditions such as gestational diabetes, anemia or a preterm labor could increase chances of maternal mortality. Some doctors may choose to induce labor or recommend bed rest to those who are more likely to suffer from pregnancy complications.

What we can do to reduce the mortality rate

Educating women about their reproductive rights and making sure a trained professional is present during childbirth can do a lot to prevent maternal mortality. Having access to proper medical services and medication would also be extremely beneficial in ensuring both the infant and mother’s good health.


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