Data

Number of maternal deaths

What you should know about this indicator

Definition

The annual number of female deaths from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes) during pregnancy and childbirth or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy.

Method of measurement

Recorded or estimated number of maternal deaths. Measurement requires information on pregnancy status, timing of death (during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy), and cause of death.

Method of estimation

Data on maternal mortality and other relevant variables are obtained through databases maintained by WHO, UNPD, UNICEF, and the World Bank Group. Data available from countries varies in terms of the source and methods. Given the variability of the sources of data, different methods are used for each data source in order to arrive at country estimates that are comparable and permit regional and global aggregation. The current methodology employed by the Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group (MMEIG) in this round followed an improved approach that built directly upon methods used to produce the previous rounds of estimates published by the MMEIG since 2008. Estimates for this round were generated using a Bayesian approach, referred to as the Bayesian maternal mortality estimation model, or BMat model. This enhanced methodology uses the same core estimation method as in those previous rounds, but adds refinements to optimize the use of country-specific data sources and excludes late maternal deaths. It therefore provides more accurate estimates, and a more realistic assessment of certainty about those estimates. The new model still incorporates the same covariates which are; the Gross Domestic Product per capita based on purchasing power parity conversion (GDP), the general fertility rate (GFR), and proportion of births attended by a skilled health worker (SAB)). The MMEIG has developed a method to adjust existing data in order to take into account these data quality issues and ensure the comparability of different data sources. This method involves assessment of data for underreporting and, where necessary, adjustment for incompleteness and misclassification of deaths as well as development of estimates through statistical modelling for countries with no reliable national level data. Predominant type of statistics: predicted

Number of maternal deaths
The annual number of female deaths from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes) during pregnancy and childbirth or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy.
Source
World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
January 3, 2024
Next expected update
January 2025
Date range
1985–2020
Unit
Deaths

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The GHO data repository is WHO's gateway to health-related statistics for its 194 Member States. It provides access to over 1000 indicators on priority health topics including mortality and burden of diseases, the Millennium Development Goals (child nutrition, child health, maternal and reproductive health, immunization, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected diseases, water and sanitation), non communicable diseases and risk factors, epidemic-prone diseases, health systems, environmental health, violence and injuries, equity among others.

Retrieved on
January 3, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Health Organization. 2024. Global Health Observatory data repository. http://www.who.int/gho/en/. Accessed on 2024-01-03

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Citations

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To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Number of maternal deaths”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/number-of-maternal-deaths [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Number of maternal deaths” [dataset]. World Health Organization, “Global Health Observatory” [original data]. Retrieved June 25, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/number-of-maternal-deaths