Mental health problems contribute to a quarter of “later” maternal deaths after childbirth

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 08 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6666
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Maternal deaths in the United Kingdom have continued to fall, but more could be done to prevent suicides during pregnancy or in the first year after birth, the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths has found.1

While direct deaths—those caused by sepsis, eclampsia, thrombosis, or haemorrhage, for example—halved from 2003-05 to 2011-13, the number of indirect deaths showed little change. Women born outside the UK accounted for a quarter of the total deaths, but their risk of dying was not notably different in 2011-13 from those born in the UK.

Over this three year period the inquiry showed 69 direct deaths and a further 145 indirect deaths from causes such as cardiac disease, flu, or pneumonia. The corresponding figures from 2003-05 were 132 direct deaths and 163 indirect deaths. Total maternities rose from 2.11 million in 2003-05 …

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