News Release

United Nations Releases New Report on Global Maternal Mortality Rates

Statement From: Maria Brooks, BSN, RNC-OB, LCCE, FACCE, President, Lamaze International

Media Contact:  
Melissa Zuckerman, JPA Health Communications, 202-591-4021, melissa@jpa.com

Washington, D.C. (November 13, 2015)—Today, the United Nations Population Division, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank Group released a new report on maternal mortality rates (MMR) from 1990-2015. This report means that we now have data, that is reliable and accurate, to understand progress in reducing maternal mortality and provides recommendations to end all preventable maternal deaths globally.

The report has noted that the MMR globally fell by nearly 44 percent over the past 25 years. The global reduction is great progress, but there is still much more we need to do to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to reduce maternal mortality by 75 percent.

For example, the United States has a higher MMR rate in 2015 than in 1990. In fact, the rate of U.S. cesarean deliveries in low-risk pregnancies has increased1 alongside the maternal mortality rate, currently more than twice the WHO’s ideal cesarean rate of 10 – 15 percent.

Routine medical interventions in maternity care are often overused and used when not medically necessary. Instead of improving care, in low-risk pregnancies and deliveries, these interventions can contribute to increased maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.

We know that equipping parents-to-be with childbirth education that is evidence-based can reduce elective deliveries and contribute to healthy, safe births for mom and baby. As Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators and maternal health advocates, we continue to offer resources and tools for expectant moms, their loved ones and their health care team that puts evidence-based information at their fingertips for making better-informed birth decisions.

Click here to learn more on tips for women to have the healthiest and safest birth. 

About Lamaze International:
Lamaze International advances safe and healthy pregnancy, birth and early parenting through evidence-based education and advocacy. Knowing that pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding on a woman’s body and mind, Lamaze serves as a resource for information about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years. Lamaze education and practices are based on the best and most current medical evidence available. Working closely with their families, health care providers and Lamaze educators, millions of pregnant women have achieved their desired childbirth outcomes using Lamaze practices. The best way to learn about Lamaze’s steps to a safe and healthy birth is to take a class with a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE). To find classes in your area, or for more information visit www.lamaze.org 

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1 Osterman MJK, Martin JA. Trends in low-risk cesarean delivery in the United States, 1990–2013. National vital statistics reports; vol 63 no 6. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2014. 

2 WHO statement on caesarean section rates Executive Summary. April 10, 2014. 

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