Trends in Maternal Mortality

Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the UN Population Division

September 19, 2019

More women and children survive today than ever before. Despite strong progress, however, every 11 seconds, a pregnant woman or newborn dies somewhere in the world – deaths that can be prevented using skilled care before, during and after childbirth.

The latest Trends in Maternal Mortality: 2000 to 2017 report from UNICEF and partners finds that the maternal mortality ratio (MMR, number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) dropped by about 38 per cent worldwide. Nonetheless, poverty remains one of the biggest factors in whether or not a woman receives adequate health care, and 94 per cent of all maternal deaths still occur in low- and lower middle-income countries.

Most maternal deaths are preventable as the health care solutions to avoid or manage complications are well-known. Since the health of the mother and newborn are closely linked, access to high quality care before, during and after childbirth can make the difference between life and death for both mother and baby.

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