6 Improve maternal health

Where do we stand?

Much more still needs to be done to reduce maternal mortality.

Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates. Inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health.

Maternal mortality ratio, 1990 and 2013 (Maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, women aged 15-49).
Source: The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015

Bar Chart
  • Almost 300,000 women died globally in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • The proportion of deliveries in developing regions attended by skilled health personnel rose from 56 to 68 per cent between 1990 and 2012.
  • In 2012, 40 million births in developing regions were not attended by skilled health personnel, and over 32 million of those births occurred in rural areas.
  • 52 per cent of pregnant women had four or more antenatal care visits during pregnancy in 2012, an increase from 37 per cent in 1990.

Read more in The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015.

UNDP's work around the globe

2015: Time for Global Action
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Targets for MDG 5
  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
    • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
    • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
    • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health & inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health
    • More women are receiving antenatal care
    • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
    • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
    • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
    • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
    • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed & use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education