New BJOG supplement published today: CMACE Saving Mothers' Lives report

Published on 03/01/11

The Eighth Report of the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths, ‘Saving Mothers’ Lives’ is published today as a FREE supplement in BJOG. The report reviews maternal deaths between 2006 and 2008 and shows that the overall number of maternal deaths in the UK has fallen over the last three years despite a rise in the number of women dying from infection: the maternal mortality rate decreased from 13.95 per 100,000 maternities in 2003-2005 to 11.39 per 100,000 maternities in 2006-2008.

The direct death rate also decreased from 6.24 to 4.67 per 100, 000 maternities between the two trienniums. The leading cause for these deaths was infection such as Group A Streptococcal disease caught in the community. Hence, the report calls for the need for scrupulous hygiene, especially after birth, and most importantly if mothers are in contact with people with sore throats. The report builds a strong case for national guidelines to be drawn up for the identification and management of sepsis in pregnant and recently delivered women.

Previous reports have had a positive impact on the inequalities gap, suggest the authors of the report, and this is illustrated by the significant decrease in maternal mortality rates among those living in the most deprived areas and those in the lowest socio-economic group. For the first time, there has been a reduction in this unfair and needless gap.

Professor Gwyneth Lewis, editor of the report stressed that while the reports do show success in the UK, continual work is needed to ensure that maternal death rates are kept to a minimum: “The reason why the maternal mortality rate in the UK is comparatively low is because we make every effort to understand and then act on the root causes of why some mothers die during and after pregnancy. Much hard work has been undertaken to produce these maternal enquiries. This eighth report has highlighted some of the successes over the last few years in preventing death but we must not become complacent. More needs to be done to ensure that maternal death is kept as low as possible.”

Professor Phil Steer, Editor-in-Chief, BJOG added: “At BJOG we are proud to be associated with the publication of the latest in these reports, which although discussing maternal deaths only in the UK, has over the years had a formative influence on the development of the global initiative to reduce maternal mortality. Many of the lessons learnt have been generalizable. Anyone concerned about the continuing toll of preventable deaths will find it vital reading”.

Click here to view the report in full


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