Childbirth is as delicate to the infant as the mother, and a recent study aims to look into some of the risk factors involved in maternal deaths.
According to a research conducted by the University of Oxford’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, the risk of maternal death is aggravated by six major factors, led by medical co-morbidities. The mother’s medical condition — which may include hypertension, asthma, mental disorders, and blood-related diseases — may constitute up to 49 percent of the risk of death.
Other factors include problems from a previous pregnancy, gestational hypertension, improper use of antenatal care, substance abuse, and Indian descent.
The study was based on data from the MBRRACE Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths as well as the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS). Deaths of women in the U.K. from 2009 to 2012 were studied, along with more than 1,600 women who survived a high-risk pregnancy complication.
Study co-author Marian Knight, who works at the university’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, said that while cases of maternal deaths in the U.K. are few and far between, the importance of maternal care should not be disregarded. “The findings highlight the importance of optimal care for women with pre-existing medical problems in pregnancy. We found that uptake of antenatal care was poorer among women with medical co-morbidities which could increase adverse effects associated with these conditions. It is therefore vital that this group of women receive pre-conception counselling and extra support throughout their pregnancy,” Knight said in a news release.