pregnant woman iconIt is the consensus that the majority of maternal deaths can be avoided; despite this consensus, rates of mortality among pregnant women in developing nations remain higher than desirable. The Millennium Development Goal 5 calls for a 75% reduction in maternal mortality by 2015, but are mortality rates falling quickly enough to meet this goal?

Based on a study published in the journal International Perspectives on Sexual Reproductive Health, researchers from Emory University believe maternal mortality rates can be reduced significantly with continued and accelerated focus on education, healthcare and family planning.

By 2008, maternal death rates had dropped by 34% from 1990 in the United States. Maternal death rates worldwide paralleled this drop. Also during this time the majority of the maternal death burden was shifted from Asia to Africa where researchers believe the HIV epidemic and ineffective access to healthcare could be the primary causes of maternal death.

With continued focus and dedication, maternal death rates will continue to drop, but a targeted push toward quality and accessible healthcare needs to be a primary focus.

Source: Zureick-Brown S, Newby H, Chou D, Mizoguchi N, Say L, Suzuki E, Wilmoth J. Understanding global trends in maternal mortality. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2013 Mar;39(1):32-41. doi: 10.1363/3903213.