Maternal Mortality Rate

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births due to pregnancy or termination of pregnancy, regardless of the site or duration of pregnancy. The maternal mortality rate is used to represent the risk associated with pregnancy among women.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

State-wise Maternal Morality Rate (2000-2016):- Download PDF Here

In developing countries, the leading cause of death and disability among women of reproductive age are the complications that occur during childbirth and pregnancy. 

Maternal Mortality Rate in India

In India, the number of deaths caused due to pregnancy and childbirth has been very high over the years but the recent records show that there has been a decline in the MMR of India. It is tough to calculate the exact maternal mortality except where the comprehensive records of deaths and causes of death are available. So surveys and census are used to estimate the levels of maternal mortality.

Reproductive Age Mortality Studies (RAMOS) is presently considered the best way to calculate MMR. In this, different sources and records are analysed to get data regarding the death of women of reproductive ages and also through verbal autopsy to estimate the number of deaths. The MMR is calculated at both global and regional level every five years through a regression model.

In India, the Sample Registration Survey (SRS) is used to get an estimate of the maternal mortality rate. Given below is the MMR in India as per the Sample Registration System:

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in India
Year MMR
2004-2006 254
2007-2009 212
2010-2012 178
2011-2013 167
2014-2016 130
2015-2017 122

The above data clearly shows the decline in the trend of maternal mortality rate in India. In the survey conducted in 2015-2017, Kerala was the state with the least maternal mortality rate of 42 and Assam noted the maximum number of deaths of women in India with MMR of 229.

Causes of High Maternal Mortality Rate

There are various reasons for the death of women during their reproductive age (18 to 39 years)that had been the cause of an increase in the maternal mortality rate. Given below are a few reasons for the rate of deaths of women due to pregnancy and childbirth:

  1. Spread of diseases
  2. Unawareness
  3. Lack of nutrition and unhealthy livelihood
  4. Haemorrhage
  5. Incorrect Treatment

Studies have shown that most deaths during pregnancy and childbirth are curable and can be controlled if proper treatment is provided to women. It has also been noted that calculating the exact MMR is not possible as multiple records of deaths are not recorded for reasons like abortion, ill-treatment and lack of medical attribution.

Know more about Sustainable Development Goals at the linked article.

Result of MDG and SDG with respect to Maternal Mortality Rate

The Millennium Development Goals were set UNDP for all the member nations of the UN. MDG was a set of eight goals that were set for a better future of the world and the people living in it. The Sustainable development goals were undertaken by the members of the UN after a fifteen-year successful plan of the MDG. 

The Millennium Development goals were successful in reducing poverty and infant mortality rate almost half since 1990. The latest report of Sustainable development goals released for 2019 has stated that a major decline in the number of deaths caused due to pregnancy and childbirth has been noted across the world. 

The report also states that between 2015 and 2018, there has been an increase of 81 per cent assistance provided to pregnant ladies and that has been one of the major reasons for the decline in MMR. In 2018, the report released by SDG stated a decline of 37 per cent in the maternal mortality rate since 2000. 

The sustainable development goals intend to attain their target of 70 deaths per 100,000 by 2030 with respect to the maternal mortality rate. Many actions have been taken for a better livelihood and proper assistance is being provided to reproductive women and awareness is being spread with an intention to end the maternal mortality rate across the world.

State-wise Maternal Morality Rate (2000-2016):- Download PDF Here


The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2020.

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