Maternal Mortality Rates Dropped Nearly 50 Percent In The Past 25 Years

Some 830 women die of preventable pregnancy-related causes every day.

A joint study by United Nations agencies and the World Bank delivered some good news for mothers across the world. According to the Thursday report, maternal mortality rates have dropped 44 percent in the past 25 years. It is a promising progress towards the U.N. Sustainable Development goals to eliminate women's chances of pregnancy-related deaths by 2030.

Put together by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), the U.N. Population Fund, the World Bank Group, and the U.N. Population Division, the report stated that maternal deaths across the globe fell from about 532,000 in 1990 to 303,000 today

Maternal mortality is classified as the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth, or within six weeks of childbirth. Often, these deaths occur in places where hygiene practices, medicine, and education resources are scarce. 

According to the report, about 99 percent of maternal deaths this year will have taken place in developing countries, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"Over the past 25 years, a woman's risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes has nearly halved," Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director-general of Family, Women's and Children's Health, said in the press release. "That's real progress, although it is not enough. We know that we can virtually end these deaths by 2030 and this is what we are committing to work towards."

Access to quality health care during pregnancy and childbirth is saving lives.

As it stands today, nearly 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth every day. 

The need for high-quality health services is even clearer today than ever before. "Practicing good hygiene to reduce the risk of infection, injecting oxytocin immediately after childbirth to reduce the risk of severe bleeding, and identifying and addressing potentially fatal conditions like pregnancy-induced hypertension" are health interventions that can be done to ensure that this progress continues, the report stated.

Unsurprisingly, sexual and reproductive health services and education for women was also listed as a way to keep maternal mortality rates low.

Cover image: Rod Waddington via Flickr