Fact: Every minute a woman dies in childbirth somewhere in the world — 536,000 deaths per year — and almost all of them are preventable. While most other health indicators have improved in low-income countries over the last decades, maternal mortality and morbidity remain unconquered.
- Up to 15 percent of pregnant women experience potentially fatal complications — 20 million women each year.
- Approximately 5 percent of pregnant women — 7 million women — experience complications that require surgery, most often a caesarean section, and many are without access to emergency obstetric care. One result is 2 million women living with a disability such as obstetric fistula.
- 35 percent of pregnant women in low-income countries do not have access to or contact with health personnel prior to delivery.
- More than 60 percent of maternal deaths take place during delivery or in the immediate post-partum period.
The most critical interventions for safe motherhood are universal access to contraception, a health worker with midwifery skill.
Women's Health Fact Sheet
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