UNFPAState of World Population 2004
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HOME: STATE OF WORLD POPULATION 2004: Maternal Health
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Maternal Health

New Approaches
Causes and Consequences
Maternal Morbidity
Obstetric Fistula
Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity
Difficulties in Measurement
Holistic Responses
Antenatal Care
Skilled Attendance
Emergency Obstetric Care
Post-abortion Care
Quality of Maternal Health
Men and Maternal Health
UNFPA and Safe Motherhood

Maternal Morbidity

The same factors that result in maternal mortality make pregnancy- and childbirth-related illness and injury the second leading cause after HIV/AIDS of lost years of healthy life among women of reproductive age in developing countries—accounting for nearly 31 million “disability-adjusted life years” lost annually.(17)

While the incidence and prevalence of maternal morbidity are not well understood, an often-used estimate is that 15 per cent of pregnant women will experience complications of pregnancy or delivery serious enough to require emergency obstetric care in a health facility.(18)

Direct causes of maternal morbidity are obstetric complications during pregnancy, labour, or the postpartum period due to interventions, omissions or incorrect treatment. Indirect maternal morbidity results from previously existing conditions or disease, aggravated by pregnancy; this type of disability may occur at any time and continue throughout a woman’s life. Maternal morbidity can also be psychological, most often manifested by depression, which can result from obstetric complications, interventions, cultural practices or coercion.(19)

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