Maternal Health: How can women’s lives be saved?

  • Most maternal deaths are preventable, as the health-care solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known.
  • All women need access to high quality care in pregnancy, and during and after childbirth.
  • Maternal health and newborn health are closely linked.
  • 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 the mother as well as for the baby.
  • Severe bleeding after birth can kill a healthy woman within hours if she is unattended. Injecting oxytocics immediately after childbirth effectively reduces the risk of bleeding.
  • Infection after childbirth can be eliminated if good hygiene is practiced and if early signs of infection are recognized and treated in a timely manner.
  • Pre-eclampsia should be detected and appropriately managed before the onset of convulsions (eclampsia) and other life-threatening complications.
  • Administering drugs such as magnesium sulfate for pre-eclampsia can lower a woman’s risk of developing eclampsia.
  • To avoid maternal deaths, it is also vital to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
  • All women, including adolescents, need access to contraception, safe abortion services to the full extent of the law, and quality post-abortion care.


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