Lifetime risk of maternal death (1 in: rate varies by country)

Definition: Life time risk of maternal death is the probability that a 15-year-old female will die eventually from a maternal cause assuming that current levels of fertility and mortality (including maternal mortality) do not change in the future, taking into account competing causes of death.

Description: The map below shows how Lifetime risk of maternal death (1 in: rate varies by country) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Greece, with a value of 23,700.00. The country with the lowest value in the world is Sierra Leone, with a value of 17.00.

Source: WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group, and the United Nations Population Division. Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2015

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Limitations and Exceptions: The methodology differs from that used for previous estimates, so data should not be compared historically. Maternal mortality ratios are generally of unknown reliability, as are many other cause-specific mortality indicators. The probability cannot be assumed to provide an exact estimate of risk of maternal death.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Reproductive health is a state of physical and mental well-being in relation to the reproductive system and its functions and processes. Means of achieving reproductive health include education and services during pregnancy and childbirth, safe and effective contraception, and prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death and disability among women of reproductive age in developing countries. Maternal mortality is generally of unknown reliability, as are many other cause-specific mortality indicators. Household surveys such as Demographic and Health Surveys attempt to measure maternal mortality by asking respondents about survivorship of sisters. The main disadvantage of this method is that the estimates of maternal mortality that it produces pertain to 12 years or so before the survey, making them unsuitable for monitoring recent changes or observing the impact of interventions. In addition, measurement of maternal mortality is subject to many types of errors. Even in high-income countries with reliable vital registration systems, misclassification of maternal deaths has been found to lead to serious underestimation. The estimates are based on an exercise by the Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group (MMEIG) which consists of World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and World Bank, and include country-level time series data. For countries without complete registration data but with other types of data and for countries with no data, maternal mortality is estimated with a multilevel regression model using available national maternal mortality data and socioeconomic information, including fertility, birth attendants, and GDP. In countries with a high risk of maternal death, many girls die before reaching reproductive age. Lifetime risk of maternal mortality refers to the probability that a 15-year-old girl will eventually die due to a maternal cause.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual