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Maternal Mortality Ratio 

MMR is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births due to causes related to pregnancy or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy.

In India, over 301 women die out of every 100,000 giving birth. In the developed world less than 20 women die during child births.

Huge variations exist between states which calls for focused attention being paid to overcome this challenge, particularly in interior rural areas where transportation for emergency care is difficult to access.

  Maternal Mortality Ratio in Selected States
(Source: RCH & DLHS 2002-2004 Released Aug. 2006)
  Life Time risk of a women dying in Childbirth
(Source: Derived from office of the Registrar General, India)

Causes of High Maternal Mortality 
Around 30% of all women need emergency care during delivery.

Only 35% of all deliveries are conducted by a doctor.

Only 15% are conducted by a nurse, ANM, midwife or Lady Health Visitor.

In urban areas more than 69% of the deliveries took place in institutions but in rural areas only 30% took place in institutions. (DLHS2)

Maternal Health affects infant health
A child's nutritional status begins with a woman's nutritional status during adolescence and pregnancy.

Some Facts:

  1. The risk of a woman dying from a complication related to pregnancy or childbirth Developed Countries - 1 in 2800 India - 1 in 100

  2. Many of the surviving mothers suffer from serious disease, or physical disability caused by complications during pregnancy or childbirth.

Safe Motherhood

  1. Emergency obstetric care is critical for saving a mother's life.

  2. It is estimated that nearly 7 million induced abortions take place annually. Studies show that almost 10% of all maternal deaths are attributable to abortion related complications.

  3. Anaemia is the underlying cause of another 20% of the deaths.

  4. Women need help to reach emergency obstetric facilities. Raising awareness about the need for women to access emergency care is critical for saving lives.

  5. Women need to know more about the emergency contraceptive pill, that medical termination of pregnancy is legal and where services are available.

  6. Men need to be involved in encouraging women to access antenatal care, to access safe delivery services and to make spacing and limiting families a joint responsibility.

Pregnancy Complications cannot be predicted

  • The progress of a country is judged by its levels of maternal and infant mortality. In India these indices are very high. Repeated childbirth are seen as an insurance against multiple infant and child deaths. Vast Numbers of people cannot avail of services even when they are available, due to problems of knowledge and access.

  • The involvement of educated people is vitally necessary to create a public awakening for the need to delay the age of marriage and space the birth of children.


MMR Challenges
  • Mithu Roy, three days before delivering a baby boy  

  • Distance to Primary Health Center could be difficult to cover

  • Delay can cause maternal deaths in case of complications.

Countries which reduced maternal mortality placed heavy emphasis on promoting institutional delivery
NFHS-3 finding on Maternal Mortality Ratio in India           (Click on any slide for a bigger look)




Copyright © 2007 - Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh       
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