Topic » Maternal Health
More than 350,000 women die every year in pregnancy or childbirth – the majority of them in developing countries. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for women aged 15 to 19 worldwide, primarily due to complications of childbirth and unsafe abortion.
Universal access to family planning could prevent one-third of maternal deaths, while also allowing women to space or delay their pregnancies. Research shows mothers who wait three to five years before having another child have a lower risk of complications such as pre-eclampsia and hemorrhage and deliver healthier babies. PAI supports family planning as an effective strategy to improve maternal health, and advocates for increased access to life-saving reproductive and maternal health supplies.
Unintended pregnancies are an important cause of maternal deaths. Pregnancies that occur too early, too late or too frequently can lead to illness during pregnancy and complications at the time of birth. Lowering fertility rates by increasing the use of family planning helps to reduce pregnancy-related deaths and population growth. In many countries with high maternal mortality, fertility rates would be lower if women had the number of children they desire.
Fulfilling the global demand for family planning can significantly reduce the costs of achieving the U.N. targets, especially in maternal health and education. In Kenya alone, providing universal access to contraception could generate a $200 million net savings for the social sector in meeting the MDGs.