Globally, approximately 358,000 maternal deaths and 3.3 million neonatal deaths
occur each year. The global stillbirth rate is 3.2 million annually. The majority
of these deaths occur in low-resource settings, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa
and South Asia.
The leading causes of maternal deaths include postpartum hemorrhage and hypertensive
diseases of pregnancy. Postpartum hemorrhage, stemming from atonic uterus, retained
placenta, ruptured uterus, and cervical laceration, accounts for approximately two-thirds
of hemorrhage related deaths. Hypertensive diseases of pregnancy, namely preeclampsia
and eclampsia, contribute to 10-20% of maternal deaths. Complications of eclampsia
lead to maternal deaths from cardiac failure and cerebral vascular accidents.
The leading causes of neonatal mortality are complications of prematurity, sepsis,
birth asphyxia, and tetanus. Respiratory distress syndrome is a major cause of death
among preterm infants. Stillbirths are caused by syphilis and malaria, as well as
maternal death related conditions. Increased access to skilled care, diagnostics,
and treatment will improve the pregnancy and birth outcomes for mothers and babies.
© 2010 RTI International. RTI International is a trade name of Research Triangle Institute. Maternal and Neonatal Directed Assessment of Technology.