Maternal mortality is a critical global health issue. Every year, an upto 3 lakh women die due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these maternal deaths are preventable. By making maternal health a top priority for public health officials and advocates worldwide, we can avoid mortalities related to pregnancy..
Causes of Maternal Deaths
First, it’s important to understand that maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of the pregnancy, regardless of the cause of death. The vast majority of maternal deaths occur in low- and poverty struck areas, where access to quality healthcare services is limited, and many women lack basic knowledge about maternal health and hygiene.
The World Health Organization (WHO), has identified these conditions as the main causes of maternal deaths.
Severe bleeding: This is the leading cause of maternal deaths globally, accounting for 27% of all deaths. Severe bleeding can occur during or after childbirth and is often caused by complications such as placenta previa, where the placenta covers the cervix, or placental abruption, where the placenta detaches from the uterus too soon.
Infections: Infections account for 11% of maternal deaths worldwide. During childbirth, women are vulnerable to infections due to the increased risk of exposure to bacteria and viruses. Preeclampsia, a complication of pregnancy that can lead to high blood pressure and damage to organs, can also increase the risk of infection.
Unsafe abortion: Unsafe abortions are responsible for 9% of all maternal deaths worldwide. In countries where abortion is illegal or highly restricted, many women turn to unsafe methods, such as self-induced abortion or untrained providers. This puts them at risk of severe complications and death.
Hypertensive disorders: Hypertensive disorders, such as preeclampsia and eclampsia, can cause high blood pressure and damage to organs, which can lead to maternal death. These disorders are responsible for 8% of all maternal deaths globally.
Other direct causes: Few other causes of maternal deaths include obstructed labor, ruptured uterus, and complications from cesarean section. These complications account for 18% of all maternal deaths.
Indirect causes: Indirect causes of maternal deaths include pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS, which can be exacerbated by pregnancy. These conditions account for 27% of all maternal deaths globally.
Ways to Prevent Maternal Death
While the causes of maternal deaths vary, most of them can be prevented with access to quality maternal healthcare services. The WHO recommends that women receive at least four antenatal care visits during their pregnancy to ensure that any potential complications are detected early and treated promptly.
In addition, skilled attendance at birth can prevent many maternal deaths. Skilled attendants, such as midwives or obstetricians, are trained to recognize and manage complications during childbirth. They can also provide postnatal care to ensure that mothers and newborns are healthy and recovering well.
Improving access to family planning services is also essential in preventing maternal deaths. Family planning allows women to space their pregnancies, which can reduce the risk of complications such as hypertension and anemia. It also allows women to delay pregnancy until they are physically and emotionally ready, which can lead to better outcomes for both mother and child.
Education is another key factor in preventing maternal deaths. Many women lack basic knowledge about maternal health and hygiene, which can put them at risk of infection and other complications. Educating women about the importance of antenatal care, family planning, and proper hygiene practices can empower them to make informed decisions about their health and the health of their families.
Finally, it’s essential to address the underlying social and economic factors that contribute to maternal mortality.
Malla Reddy Narayana Hospital at Suraram, Jeedimetla, near Kompally, has an exclusive Mother & Child Care unit which specializes in comprehensive care for women before conception, during pregnancy and after delivery. The exclusive women & child care facility also gives the best care and counseling for all women and couples from different states of Telangana and AP, to ensure they have a safe delivery and prevent maternal mortality. The hospital also offers services for infertility problems, gynecological problems, maternity care and other complications. The world-class facility also has a state-of-the-art NICU & PICU to care for preterm babies & low birth weight babies.