Women are four times as likely to die after childbirth in Britain as in Scandinavian countries, a study published in the BMJ from Diguisto et al. has found.
The authors compared maternal mortality in eight countries (France, Italy, UK, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Slovakia) with enhanced surveillance systems.
They found that UK had the second-highest death rate, with one in 10,000 mothers dying within six weeks of giving birth, only slightly less than in Slovakia, the worst performing.
Norway has the lowest maternal death rates in Europe, at one in 37,000. In Denmark, the second-best performing country, one in 29,000 died.
In-depth analyses of differences in the quality of care and health system performance at national levels are needed to reduce maternal mortality further by learning from best practices and each other. Cardiovascular diseases and mental health in women during and after pregnancy must be prioritised in all countries.
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