Maternal Death – Definition

WHO defines maternal death as

  • ‘The death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy,
  • irrespective of duration or site of pregnancy
  • from a cause that is related or aggravated by pregnancy
  • but is not due to accidental or incidental causes

According to ICD (International Classification of Diseases), there are 2 categories of maternal deaths:

  • Direct obstetric deaths
    • Death due to obstetric complications of pregnant state (pregnancy, labour and puerperium), interventions, omissions, incorrect treatment or a chain of events arising from any combination of the above
  • Indirect obstetric deaths
    • Death from preexisting disease or disease that developed during pregnancy, which is not due to a direct obstetric cause, but is aggravated by the physiological changes during pregnancy

Late maternal death

  • Death of a woman after 42 days, but within 1 year of termination of pregnancy
  • due to direct or indirect obstetric causes

Pregnancy related death

  • Death of a woman, while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy
  • irrespective of cause of death

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