Global perspective on direct causes of maternal death

  • July 22, 2014 | Kim Lamont

Photo courtesy of Scott Pacaldo

The interpretation of the global disease burden has progressively shifted from communicable to non-communicable diseases and from premature death to years lived with disability.

There are several physiological changes that occur during pregnancy. These changes pose a major challenge to women with previously undiagnosed cardiovascular conditions.

The main maternal disorders responsible for death are: maternal haemorrhage, maternal sepsis, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, obstructed labour, abortion and other maternal disorders (Murray et al., 2012).

Globally it is has been estimated that hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) complicate 2–8% of pregnancies contributing, to a major extent, to maternal mortality worldwide (Duley et al., 2009). Among hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia are most prominent.

The global impact of elevated blood pressure (BP)/hypertension, in general, is profound, being responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other cardiovascular risk factor, including tobacco use, obesity and lipid disorders. 

The global burden of disease study reports on the Years Lived with Disabilities (YLDs) for 1160 sequaelae of 289 diseases and injuries. The study outlines all major factors that contribute to the adverse outcome of the mother. This includes maternal haemorrhaging, hypertension, its long-term sequel, obstruction of labour and other maternal disorders (Duley et al., 2009).

Read the PDF below for more information on the topic.

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