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Most maternal deaths are caused by deterioration in unrelated medical conditions

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 10 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7583
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Two thirds of women who die during pregnancy or shortly afterwards do not die from complications of pregnancy but from other medical conditions—such as heart disease, neurological conditions, or mental health problems—that have deteriorated because they were not well controlled, a report has shown.1

From 2009 to 2012, 357 women in the United Kingdom died during their pregnancy or within six weeks of it ending. Of these deaths, 36 were coincidental and 321 related to pregnancy complications and other medical causes, said the report from the MBRRACE-UK programme (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK), led by researchers at the University of Oxford. Death rates were higher in women who were older, from deprived areas, or born outside the UK.

The rate of maternal deaths in the UK dropped from 11.39 in 100 000 women giving birth in 2006-08, to …

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