How are Mothers dying?

The largest cause of mothers dying from pregnancy complications is severe bleeding. One in four deaths result from haemorrhaging. Other causes include infection (15%) and high blood pressure in pregnancy (12%). Most of these causes are preventable.

More than 90% of the world’s 7.1 billion people live in the developing world.One in four women who die during childbirth simply bleed to death. A medicine, oxytocin, costing less than 99 cents a vial, could prevent that.

Causes of Maternal Mortality | WHO, 2012 | % of total maternal deaths

80% of all maternal deaths are caused by:

  • severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after childbirth)
  • infections (usually after childbirth)
  • high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia)
  • unsafe abortion.

Other factors that prevent women from receiving or seeking care during pregnancy and childbirth are:

  • poverty
  • distance
  • lack of information
  • Inadequate services
  • cultural practices.

At the heart of the issue is that about half of all women in developing countries don’t have a skilled birth attendant at their delivery. They may have an untrained traditional birth attendant, or their mother-in-law. Or they may be on their own.

A Global Picture | WHO, 2012 | % of Deliveries With a Skilled Attendant

  • Global 68%
  • Africa – less than 50%
  • North America 99.5%

Value Statement

The lives of mothers, their babies, (both born and preborn) are worth saving. We promote their well-being through strategies that support healthy pregnancies. Abortion should be avoided through family planning and abstinence (as appropriate). Save the Mothers does not provide termination of pregnancy, but encourages women who have suffered complications of abortion (whether spontaneous or induced) to seek medical care.

What They Need

Building more clinics or sending medicine will not provide a lasting solution. We all need to get involved.

To make childbirth safer, developing countries need new, self-sustaining infrastructures and partnerships involving both medical and non-medical professionals, such as lawyers, journalists, politicians and educators.

Such infrastructures will lead to changes in attitudes and result in women having better access to basic maternal services and medicine. When attitudes change and women are valued more, then lasting change will occur from the inside – from the grassroots level.

This is what Save the Mothers is all about.

Save the Mothers

Uganda Christian University
Plot 67-173, Mukono Hill,
Bishop Tucker Road
P.O. Box 4, Mukono, Uganda
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Save the Mothers promotes maternal health in the developing world through education, public awareness and advocacy. Based in Uganda and North America, Save The Mothers is part of a global movement to improve the health of mothers and babies.