13 Mar 2009

Death rate up for pregnant women and babies

1:19 pm on 13 March 2009

A new report shows an increase in the death rate of both pregnant women and babies.

However, the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee attributes the increase to better reporting.

In 2006, there were 23.5 maternal deaths for every 100,000 maternities compared with 8.6 in 2005 and 6.8 in 2004.

A maternal death refers to the death of a pregnant woman or a woman who dies within 42 days of terminating her pregnancy.

There has also been an increase in the death rate of babies who die after 20 weeks gestation or within their first 28 days of life.

For the second half of 2006, there were 11.6 deaths per 1000 births, which is higher than the provisionally reported rate for 2005 which is 9.8.

However the report says the outcomes probably due to increased reporting by co-ordinators and better reporting methodology.