Maternal and newborn health
Newborns and mothers are still dying in appalling numbers – mostly from preventable causes.
In recent decades, the world has made significant progress reducing newborn and maternal deaths. Between 1990 and 2020, the newborn mortality rate was almost halved.
But newborns and mothers – including adolescent mothers – are still dying in unacceptably large numbers – mostly from preventable or treatable causes, such as infectious diseases and complications during pregnancy or childbirth. In recent years, we've witnessed alarming setbacks for women's health, as maternal deaths have either increased or stagnated in nearly all regions of the world.
Uneven access to affordable, high-quality health care and services impedes many countries from improving maternal and newborn survival and reducing stillbirths. A significant proportion of maternal and newborn deaths occurs in settings of conflict or displacement.
Every day, some 6,500 babies die in the first month of life. In 2020, an estimated 2.4 million newborns died worldwide.
If current trends continue, 48 million children under the age of 5 are projected to die between 2020 and 2030, half of them newborns.
Globally, every two minutes, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth. In 2020, there were an estimted 287,000 deaths worldwide. About 70 per cent of those maternal deaths were in sub-Saharan Africa.
Severe bleeding, high blood pressure, pregnancy-related infections and complications from unsafe abortions are the leading causes of maternal deaths. These are all largely preventable with access to high-quality healthcare. If this trend isn't reversed, the lives of over 1 million more women are at risk by 2030.
All babies and mothers are entitled to affordable, high-quality health care before, during and after pregnancy. To make services accessible to all, UNICEF and partners adopted the Every Newborn Action Plan, a global road map to reduce newborn mortality.
As part of this commitment, UNICEF supports countries to provide essential packages of high-quality maternal and newborn services, such as home visits, small and sick newborn care, and kangaroo care that uses skin-to-skin contact between parents and babies to increase their chances of survival.
We also work with partners to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus, collect information on adolescent pregnancies, and train health-care workers to address the specific needs of adolescent mothers.
Additionally, UNICEF is committed to enhancing community-centered primary health care, which can meet the needs of women, children and adolescents. By doing so, we can enable equitable access to critical services such as assisted births and pre- and postnatal care, childhood vaccinations, nutrition and family planning.
|Heathy Newborn Network|
Survive and Thrive: Transforming Care for Every Small and Sick Newborn
|Healthy Newborn Network|
|UNICEF||UNICEF Strategy for Health 2016-2030|