A surprising report has revealed that just as many women in the UK are dying today as they were twenty years ago through pregnancy and childbirth, leaving us trailing behind our European cousins. Whilst less wealthy countries like Albania, Poland and Slovakia have seen a decrease in the number of childbirth related deaths, the UK has flat-lined.
Christopher Murray, one of the authors of the report, believes the reason the UK has seen little change in comparison to its contemporaries is due to the increase in the number of women having children later on in life, and the higher levels of obesity that can lead to health complications. However, the number of deaths in the UK is very low, and it's still one of the safest places to give birth in the world.
In the UK, there has been an increase in heart attacks and high blood pressure, which has been attributed to the older and heavier generation of mothers. It's also believed that the increase in caesareans, which can increase the chance of haemorrhaging, and the lack of knowledge from new residents in the UK are also contributing to the number of deaths.
Worldwide the number of deaths has dropped dramatically from 500,000 a year in 1980 to 343,000 a year in 2008. That's an average decrease of 1.4 over the same period. The UK had 8.4 deaths per 100,000 births in 1990 and 8.2 deaths in 2008, a drop of just 0.1%.