Deaths From Pregnancy And Childbirth Decline Worldwide

Researchers have reported a significant decline in deaths of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth worldwide. In 2008, about 342,900 women died from complications associated with these conditions, whereas in 1980, 526,300 women died. Several factors have contributed to the improvement — fewer pregnancies in some countries, higher incomes have led to improved health care and nutrition, more educated women, and increased availability of medically-skilled persons caring for pregnant women. Even though these new figures are a welcomed improvement few can argue against, their publication has caused conflict between science and maternal health advocacy organizations, who fear the information will divert attention and foreign aid from their causes. Experts, however, say the groups needn’t worry because the decline in maternal deaths will help them. [NY Times]