Deaths during pregnancy are on the rise again after years of decline.

Obesity and the increasing age of mothers is thought to be behind the rise in fatalities, undermining the sustained safety improvements seen in previous years, experts believe.

National statistics gathered by the University of Oxford reveal 225 women died during or just after pregnancy between 2014 and 2016, up from 202 between 2013 and 2015, shares Daily Mail.

Taking the size of the population into account, it shows 9.8 women died for every 100,000 giving birth in the latest three-year period, a rise from 8.8 per 100,000.

The report reveals maternal deaths in the UK had been dropping since 2003, when the audit first started.

Deaths fell from 14.0 per 100,000 in 2003-05 to 8.5 per 100,000 in 2012-14, but then started to rise again.

Study leader Professor Marian Knight, of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in Oxford, stresses that only a very small number of women die during pregnancy, but says doctors must be aware of the higher risks to mothers of obesity and age.

‘Women now are often older, heavier and have more complex physical and mental health conditions when they become pregnant,’ the reports states.

‘While we were once able to assume that pregnant women were by and large young and healthy, this is no longer always the case. Women in their 40s are three times more likely to die than women in their early 20s.

‘It is time to start challenging our assumptions when faced with women with more complex health issues.’

Blood clots, particularly venous thromboembolisms, remain the biggest cause of death during pregnancy.

These clots are particularly a problem among the overweight, and the risks also rise with age, the authors said.

‘Thus it is likely that venous thromboembolism in association with pregnancy will become an even greater problem without careful attention to prevention,’ they wrote.

The report also shows too many women put themselves at risk because they stop taking medication when they become pregnant for fear of harming their baby, even when the drugs are perfectly safe.

‘When you find out you are pregnant, don’t stop taking your medications without discussing this with your usual doctor,’ the report said.

‘Looking after your health is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.’

Share your comments below

We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.
  • When I read the headline I assumed it referred to the baby but I was surprised when it referred to the mother, guess health is something a lot of us take for granted until it is gone


  • How many countries does this cover? Maybe we need one just for this country. Is there a specific place that is making the numbers rise? I need more info.


  • Scary statistics but given how much later in life many are choosing to start their families it does make sense.


  • It is hard to fathom that the % is so high in this day and age.


  • Cannot believe that women don’t carry on exercising and doing all the other things they did before they were pregnant. Life goes on as normal and if you follow that mantra, there will be no problems.


  • Very concerning. I would hate to leave my other 2 behind. Exercise it is!


  • It’s not good that it’s climbing to that 10% figure of women lose their lives to bring another life into the world. I cannot believe some people think it’s ok to stop medications themselves without consultation.

    • Everyone should seek GP advice about meds when pregnant – it helps to ease fears.


  • It would be good to have a study relevant to Australia.


  • A rise from 8.8 per 100,000 is a lot, scary !


  • I had babies in my 20’s, one in my late 30’s and twins at 51. MY most dangerous one was my first live birth one , that is the one I nearly died from. My last one I did get the most care. It is hard to think with all we have these days women are still dieing.


  • Scary to think this still happens


  • The numbers of deaths are shocking. I had no idea there were so many.


  • Women should be thinking of their wellness before even think about conceiving. A mother should be there for their child, that child shouldn’t have to live with out its mother because they were looking after themselves or decide having kids in a later stage of life. Like late 40s plus. Should be looking forward to grandkids at that age.


  • Hopefully they can get these numbers declining again as soon as possible.


  • That is a scary high % of deaths.
    Gestational Diabetes – strange thing is a lot of expectant Mums who develop it have been very careful not to eat too many bad carbohydrates during pregnancy.


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Add a photo
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by your browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating