Over 300,000 women and 2.7 million newborn babies die each year in pregnancy and childbirth or soon afterwards, the majority of them in Africa and South Asia.
Every minute of every day, somewhere in the world a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. This adds up to more than 10 million over a generation.
99% of maternal deaths occur in the developing world, making maternal mortality the health statistic with the largest disparity between developed and developing countries.
For every woman who dies, at least 20 more suffer complications which leave them with lifelong disability and pain. Most of these deaths, disabilities and long-term illnesses are preventable.
222 million women in the developing world want to delay or avoid pregnancy but do not have access to modern family planning methods.
Increasing access to modern family planning could prevent up to 30 per cent of all maternal deaths and 20 per cent of newborn deaths
The lifetime risk of maternal death in high-income countries is 1 in 3,300, compared to 1 in 41 in low-income countries.
Each pregnancy multiplies a woman’s chance of dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. One third of deaths related to pregnancy or childbirth could be avoided if all women had access to contraceptive services.
Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who haven’t.
Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which together represent over 85% of all maternal deaths worldwide, also have the lowest levels of skilled attendance at birth.
Globally, women in the richest 20% of the population are almost three times more likely than women in the poorest 20% to have a skilled birth attendant at delivery.
Worldwide, as many as 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and 12% of women between the ages of 15-49 who are married or in a marriage-like relationship, who want to avoid a pregnancy do not have access to or are not using an effective method of contraception. The unwanted pregnancies are disproportionate among young, unmarried girls who lack access to contraception.
A quarter of all pregnancies end in abortion, and 21.6 million of those abortions are unsafe, resulting in 47,000 deaths each year and many more women who suffer complications and infections. Of the unsafe abortions, 18.5 million occur in developing countries.