Maternal mortality, which refers to the number of women who die due to pregnancy or childbirth-related complications, has been on the rise globally over the past two decades. The United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that a woman dies every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth.

The report shows worrying declines in maternal health, with deaths remaining unchanged or increasing in almost every region worldwide. While progress has been made, the maternal mortality ratio still falls far short of the target set by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

To better understand the causes and potential solutions to this problem, Real Research, an online survey app, conducted a survey on the tremendous increase in maternal mortality rate over the past 20 years. It aims to gather public opinions, particularly on the causes, preventability, and predictions regarding maternal mortality rates in the future.

Here are the key findings of the survey report:

  • 77.78% agreed that the most significant burden of maternal deaths falls on the underdeveloped parts of the world
  • 74.64% of respondents believed that maternal deaths are preventable
  • 16.7% of respondents cited inadequate medical care during pregnancy as the leading cause of maternal deaths


The first question in the survey sought to determine the level of awareness of the issue of maternal mortality. Results indicate that a majority (55.69%) of respondents were well aware of the UN and WHO report that stated, “a woman dies every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth.” 29.21% were somewhat aware of this, while 15.1% were completely unaware. This suggests that there is still a need for awareness campaigns to educate people about this pressing issue.

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Causes of Rising Maternal Mortality Rates

When asked about the likely causes of the rapidly increasing maternal mortality rates, most (22.14%) respondents cited elevated rates of chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Figure 1: Causes of increasing maternal mortality rate

Other contributing factors included the lack of high-quality healthcare facilities (16.65%), disparities in healthcare availability (12.47%), and limited access to healthcare (12.15%). These findings suggest that addressing chronic illnesses and improving healthcare infrastructure and access are critical to reducing maternal mortality rates.

The Burden on Underdeveloped Regions

Experts have observed that the most significant burden of maternal deaths falls on underdeveloped parts of the world, such as areas with significant financial disparities and countries experiencing conflict. To this, most (77.78%) respondents agreed, either strongly (46.76%) or somewhat (31.02%). Only 2.83% disagreed with this statement.

Preventability of Maternal Deaths

In certain countries, such as Somalia, Afghanistan, and Yemen, facing severe humanitarian crises, maternal mortality rates were more than double the world average. Such countries have at least 551 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 223 global maternal deaths.

Figure 2: Opinions on the preventability of maternal deaths

Regarding the preventability of maternal deaths, 74.64% of respondents believed maternal deaths are highly (44.99%) or somewhat (29.65%) preventable. In contrast, only 5.67% believed maternal deaths are unpreventable. This suggests that there is a need for immediate action and intervention in these regions to prevent unnecessary maternal deaths.

What Is the Leading Cause of Maternal Deaths?

When asked about the leading cause of maternal deaths, respondents cited various factors, including inadequate medical care during pregnancy (16.7%), fatal diseases (9.99%), medical negligence during childbirth (9.34%), and conditions associated with mental health (12.5%).

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A small proportion (8.26%) of respondents believed that limited knowledge about safe pregnancy is the leading cause of maternal deaths. This highlights the need for education and awareness campaigns to help women understand safe pregnancy practices and the importance of regular medical care during pregnancy.

Factors Adding to the Rising Rate of Maternal Mortality

The respondents also identified several factors contributing significantly to the rising maternal mortality rate. These include the lack of sufficient primary healthcare systems (13.48%), weak supply chains for medical products (10.15%), and the lack of proper infrastructure (10.89%).

Figure 3: Factors adding to the rising rate of maternal mortality

Others cited insufficient pre and post-natal care (10.48%) and the unavailability of skilled medical professionals (10.82%). These responses indicate a need to strengthen healthcare systems and invest in healthcare infrastructure and human resources to improve maternal health outcomes.

Predictions on Maternal Mortality Rates

Regarding predictions for the future, 45.02% of respondents predicted that maternal mortality rates will probably (25.96%) or definitely (19.06%) increase in the years to come. However, 42.33% believed that rates would decrease, either definitely (11.19%) or probably (31.14%), indicating a sense of hope and optimism for the future.

When asked which region would experience the highest maternal mortality rate in the future, 15.34% of respondents identified war-afflicted countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. Countries with humanitarian crises, such as Sudan, Somalia, Palestine, etc., and African sub-continents were cited by 15.05% and 10.11%, respectively.


Survey TitleSurvey on Tremendous Increase in Maternal Mortality Rate Over the Past 20 Years
DurationMarch 03 – March 10, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.