TitleA Framework for Analyzing the Determinants of Maternal Mortality
AuthorsMcCarthy J., Maine D.
PublicationStud Fam Plann. 1992 Jan; 23(1):23-33.
AbstractHundreds of thousands of women in developing countries die each year from complications of pregnancy, attempted abortion, and childbirth. This article presents a comprehensive and integrated framework for analyzing the cultural, social, economic, behavioral, and biological factors that influence maternal mortality. The development of a comprehensive framework was carried out by reviewing the widely accepted frameworks that have been developed for fertility and child survival, and by reviewing the existing literature on maternal mortality, including the results of research studies and accounts of intervention programs. The principal result of this exercise is the framework itself. One of the main conclusions is that all determinants of maternal mortality (and, hence, all efforts to reduce maternal mortality) must operate through a sequence of only three intermediate outcomes. These efforts must either (1) reduce the likelihood that a woman will become pregnant; (2) reduce the likelihood that a pregnant woman will experience a serious complication of pregnancy or childbirth; or (3) improve the outcomes for women with complications. Several types of interventions are most likely to have substantial and immediate effects on maternal mortality, including family planning programs to prevent pregnancies, safe abortion services to reduce the incidence of complications, and improvements in labor and delivery services to increase the survival of women who do experience complications.