Each year the MBRRACE report ” Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care”   looks at maternal mortality in the previous trimester. It is extremely important in the UK and is regarded as the gold standard throughout the rest of the world.  It is widely read by clinicians, policy makers and civil servants. 

In recent years APEC have been involved with writing the lay summary. This report (2020) looks at data from 2016-18. 

The key points are that in 2016-2018

  • 9.7 women per 100,000 died during or up to 6 weeks after pregnancy from causes related to their pregnancy (up from 9.2 in the previous report but down from 9.8 in the one before that.)
  • 217 Women died during or up to 6 weeks after pregnancy from causes related to their pregnancy
  • 566 women died during or up to a year after pregnancy  – 510 of these had multiple problems,
  • 29 women died from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy https://sudep.org/ has some useful resources about this.
  • 50 from Cardiac Disease
  • 33 from Blood Clots
  • 28 from Mental Health conditions (generally suicide)
  • 23 from Sepsis
  • 20 from Bleeding
  • 6 from cancer
  • 4 from Pre-eclampsia, this is a reduction of 1 death from the previous report and an historically very low figure
  • 24 from other conditions
  • The report especially looks at epilepsy and stroke, general medical and surgical disorders, anaesthetic causes, haemorrhage, amniotic fluid embolism and sepsis. 
  • There remain gaps in mortality rates between women from different areas, women of different ages and women from different ethnic groups.
  • Asian women are twice as likely to die as white women, mixed ethnicity women are three times more likely to die and black women are 4 times as likely to die.
  • Women from less affluent areas are three times more likely to die as women from wealthier areas in the UK
  • The report highlights the need for checking for pre-eclampsia which is now at exceptionally low death rates BUT is noted as a complicating factor in a number of other deaths

Improvements in care which may have made a difference to the outcome were identified for 51% of women who died.