Maternal deaths in Australia 2006-2010

19 Aug 2014

Summary: Maternal deaths in Australia 2006–2010 provides a summary of statistics on maternal mortality in Australia to inform safety and quality of maternity care in Australia, and provides good practice guidance from members of the National Maternal Mortality Advisory Committee.

Maternal mortality rates remained low for Australian women

In 2006–2010 in Australia, there were 99 maternal deaths that occurred within 42 days of the end of pregnancy. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was 6.8 deaths per 100,000 women who gave birth. The MMR for 2003–2005 was 8.4 and 11.1 for 2000–2002. These data should be interpreted with caution due to the rarity of maternal deaths in Australia and the associated volatility of small numbers.

There were 39 maternal deaths directly related to the pregnancy in 2006–2010. Fifty-seven deaths were indirect maternal deaths and due to non-pregnancy-related conditions. Women aged 40 and over, with higher parity, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin, or with Remote or Very remote usual residence were among those at increased risk of maternal death.

Australia’s MMR is lower than New Zealand and United Kingdom for comparable years but accurate comparisons are limited due to different maternal mortality review processes,
classifications and ascertainment measures

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