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

Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity

Every country that has achieved low maternal mortality has developed a systematic approach involving skilled attendants for routine delivery, emergency obstetric care to treat complications, and referral and transport systems that ensure access to life-saving care.

Upgrading medical facilities so that women will seek care and expanding services where they are overloaded are among the first steps in preventing maternal death and disability. Particular attention must be given to reaching the poor, populations isolated by location and those affected by war and natural disasters.

Mobilizing families, communities and nations to support women during pregnancy and childbirth, through strengthened policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks for maternal health, is also crucial.(22)

Family planning is also critical to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. Satisfying the existing unmet need for contraception would reduce pregnancies worldwide, causing maternal mortality to drop by 25-35 per cent.(23) Reducing adolescent pregnancies would also have an important impact.

Strategies to reduce maternal mortality also need the support of broader efforts to address women’s health, among them better nutrition for women and girls to build resistance and avoid anaemia, combating infectious diseases such as malaria, and averting violence. Reproductive health interventions promote the health and survival of infants and provide an important link between goals for child and maternal health.

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