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Too Many Moms Still Die in Childbirth

Childbirth still dangerous

Childbirth still risky for too many moms

Today the World Health Organization reported that mortality rates in childbirth are still far above the targets set by the United Nations.

1,000 women pass away every day during delivery. The study did show a 34 percent decrease over the last two decades — a significant worldwide decline (in 1990, 546,000 women passed away while delivering a baby, whereas in 2008, it was 358,000). But this is still above U.N. targets, and to get on track would mean that between now and 2015, mortality rates would have to go down by 5.5 percent each year. They have gone down annually by only 2.3 percent so far.

What are the top reasons we still lose moms during childbirth?

Severe bleeding, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortions are the four major causes, says the report, produced by the WHO, UNICEF, the U.N. Population Fund, and the World Bank.

Training more midwives and expanding and strengthening health centers in developing countries has led to the decline in mortality so far. And the news is moderately good, because the countries where most deaths occurred did experience a decline. Out of the 1,000 women who died every day in 2008, 570 lived in sub-Saharan Africa, 300 in South Asia, and about 5 in more affluent countries. In Africa, this was a drop of 26 percent from 1990, and in South Asia, a 52 percent drop.

It’s still higher than acceptable, says the WHO, and they’re hoping to speed up the pace of improving health conditions for moms around the world.

Image: Flickr/jcgoforth

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