Woman who dies in childbirth, dozens more suffer injury, infection or disease. The majority of maternal deaths are due to haemorrhage, infection, unsafe abortion, and eclampsia (very high blood pressure leading to seizures), or from health complications worsened in pregnancy.Worldwide, maternal death rates have been reduced by nearly a third since 1990, falling from 282 deaths per 100000 live births in 1990 to 196 in 2015, with progress accelerating since 2000. Yet, in 2015 more than 275000 women died in pregnancy or childbirth in 2015, mostly from preventable causes.
Two thirds (122) of countries have already met the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to reduce the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes to less than 70 for every 100000 live births by 2030.
However, 24 countries have seen increasing maternal death since 2000 – many of these countries have been affected by conflict (eg, Afghanistan and Palestine), but some are also high-income countries like the USA, Greece, and Luxembourg. Moreover, disparities between countries are widening, with the proportion of all maternal deaths rising from 68% in 1990 to 80% in 2015 in the poorest countries, where haemorrhage is the main cause of maternal death and teenage pregnancy is much more common. In contrast, in high-income countries most maternal deaths are related to complications like heart problems, blood clots, and complications of NCDs.