Happy Mother's Day, World

Summary and Comment |
May 9, 2014

Happy Mother's Day, World

  1. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS

Global efforts to reduce maternal mortality seem effective.

  1. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS

Since the 1990s, concerted initiatives to reduce maternal mortality have been launched around the world. To assess the success of these programs, researchers used complex statistical models to combine data from multiple sources in 180 countries.

From 1990 to 2013, maternal mortality dropped in both developed and developing countries; however, maternal death rates in developing countries are still almost 20 times higher than those in developed countries. Further, U.S. maternal death rates are twice those in Canada and thrice those in many other countries (e.g., Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malta, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland). In low-income countries, the most common causes of maternal death in both 1990 and 2013 were abortion and hemorrhage. In sub-Saharan Africa during the last decade, post-abortion death rates have significantly increased.


While this progress is wonderful to see, it's clear that much work remains to be done. Worldwide, women need easy access to highly effective contraception — as well as mifepristone and misoprostol for medical abortion and management of postpartum hemorrhage. These are life-saving interventions.

Editor Disclosures at Time of Publication

  • Disclosures for Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS at time of publication Grant / Research support Veterans Health Administration; Department of Health and Human Services; FDA; National Institute of Child Health and Development; American Diabetes Association, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Editorial boards Contraception


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