1 Less than 10
2 10 to 49
3 50 to 99
4 100 to 499
5 500 to 999
6 More than 1000
7 No data
0 Less than 25
1 25 to 49
2 50 to 74
3 75 to 99
4 100 to 149
5 150 and over
6 No Data

Maternal Mortality Ratio

What does it mean ?

The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is the rate at which women die from maternal causes (any cause related to pregnancy, during childbirth, pregnancy or within 42 days of childbirth). It is measured as the number of maternal deaths per every 100,000 live births. A live birth refers to any baby that is born that shows signs of life outside of the womb. A maternal death refers to the death of woman while she is pregnant or within 42 days of childbirth, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management. Maternal deaths exclude accidental or other non-related causes of death. The MMR represents the risk associated with each pregnancy and birth.

Why does it matter ?

Problems during pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death and disability of women of reproductive age (15-49 years) in low income countries. This indicator acts as a record of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth and reflects the ability of a country's healthcare system to provide safe care during pregnancy and childbirth. The Maternal Mortality Ratio is an indicator for monitoring Sustainable Development Goal 3 Health and Wellbeing Target 3.1: By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.

How is it collected ?

In high income countries the data for MMR are from nationally registered deaths to women, with maternal death as the cause, then dividing by the number of registered live births. If birth and death registration is incomplete other methods are used such as a special survey or population censuses. Where there are no data, an estimate is generated from three factors: GDP, fertility rate and births attended by a skilled attendant.

MMR 2017 - TRENDS IN MATERNAL MORTALITY 2000 to 2017 Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/327595/9789241516488-eng.pdf?ua=1 [Accessed 9 March 2020]

A Mother Too Soon in 2015

For all too many girls around the world, pregnancy happens when they are themselves still children. However the repercussions of early motherhood can have a disastrous impact on a young woman's life. Women who give birth between the ages of 15-19 are twice as likely to die from pregnancy and birth related causes than women in their 20s, and for girls aged under 15 the risk is five times higher that women in their 20s.

Babies under one with adolescent mothers are 50% more likely to die than those with mothers in their 20s, and the younger the mother, the higher the risk.

Potential disadvantages are not just limited to health. When girls start having babies in their early teens, they miss out on school, which means they also miss opportunities to escape poverty.

As a result of unprotected sex, teenage girls are also at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. Young girls may feel unable to ask to use condoms – and in many cases they may be forced into sex. In both Malawi and Ghana around a third of girls reported that they were "not willing at all" during their first sexual experience.

Mothers under 16

In many countries girls are often married and bear their first child before the age of 16. This is particularly prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in parts of Asia and Latin America. These very young pregnancies, which carry the greatest risks for both mother and baby, are concentrated in those countries where services are poorest.

No attribution