Most maternal deaths are preventable, as the health-care solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known.
All women need access to professional antenatal care in pregnancy, skilled care during childbirth, and care and support in the weeks after childbirth.
Maternal health and newborn health are closely linked. It was estimated that approximately 2.7 million newborn babies died in 2015, and an additional 2.6 million are stillborn (6). It is particularly important that all births are attended by skilled health professionals, as timely management and treatment can make the difference between life and death for both mother and baby.
Severe bleeding after birth can kill a healthy woman within hours if she is not attended by a professional health worker. Medication given immediately after childbirth effectively reduces the risk of bleeding.
Infection can be eliminated if good hygiene is practiced and if early signs of infection are recognized and treated.
Pre-eclampsia can be detected and managed with medication before the onset of eclampsia (convulsions and other life-threatening complications).
To avoid maternal deaths, all women, including adolescents, need education and access to family planning and prenatal, childbirth and postnatal care from professional healthcare workers.