How To Measure Maternal Mortality
It is very difficult to measure maternal mortality for both conceptual and practical reasons. Maternal deaths-are hard to certify precisely because this requires information about deaths among women of reproductive age, pregnancy status at or near the time of death and the medical cause of death. There are three distinct measures of maternal mortality in widespread use13:
- The maternal mortality ratio.
- The maternal mortality rate.
- The life time risk of maternal death.
The most commonly used measure is the maternal mortality ratio, that is the maternal deaths during a give time period per 100,000 live births during the same period. But where the ratio is very high it is expressed per 1000 live births.
The maternal mortality rate, that is the maternal deaths in given time period per 100,000 women of reproductive age during the same time period. This reflects the frequency with which women are exposed to risk through fertility. The life time risk of maternal death is the risk of an individual women dying from pregnancy or childbirth during her lifetime. Calculation are based on maternal mortality and fertility rate of a country. In can be approximated by multiplying the maternal mortality rate by the length of the reproductive period (around 35 yrs).
Life time risk of maternal death is the risk of an individual women dying from pregnancy or childbirth during life time. Calculations are based on maternal mortality and fertility rate of a country. Women in developing countries face these risk much more often, since they bear many more children than women in the developed world.