Background: Maternal mortality and morbidity remain an important public health priority and are key indicators of women\'s health worldwide. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that about 295,000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth in 2017. About 13% of maternal deaths worldwide is due to unsafe abortions. The vast majority of these deaths (94%) occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and most could have been prevented. Severe maternal morbidity is nearly 100 times more common than maternal mortality and includes unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to a woman\'s health. Improving maternal health is one of the key priorities of WHO. Action to improve women\'s health includes safe obstetric access, skilled attendance at childbirth, adequate antenatal, postpartum and postabortion care in order to reduce maternal deaths, and severe pregnancy complications.
Causes of maternal mortality and morbidity: The five most important direct causes of maternal mortality in developing countries that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are severe bleeding, infections, unsafe abortion, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and complications from delivery. Some other factors also impact the poor maternal health outcomes such as the distance to facilities and, in some cases, inadequate and poor quality prenatal and maternity care services. Poor women in remote areas are the least likely to receive adequate healthcare. On the other side, adolescent girls face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than other complications.
How can we reduce maternal mortality ratio? Delivery by skilled birth attendants is strongly recommended to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. Skilled care before, during, and after childbirth can make the difference between life and death for the mother as well as for the baby. A good essential obstetric care should be accessible to address complications of childbirth. An adequate antenatal and postpartum care can significantly reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. To avoid maternal deaths, it is also very important to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Family planning is also very important for primary prevention of maternal mortality.
Conclusion: Efforts to improve maternal outcomes could be done through programs of antenatal and postpartum care focused on the prevention and recognition of complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Substantial reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity will require long-term investment in community education and family planning and, ultimately, the empowerment of women. It is important to implement initiatives to understand the burden of severe maternal mortality and morbidity and to implement review processes for assessing potential preventability.