Maternal death in Mexico: the causes of a phenomenon relegated by the authorities – El Sol de México

Hundreds of women of childbearing age die every year from preventable causes, among them are maternal deaths, which, despite the efforts made to reduce them, it is observed that they still persist, and their reduction trend seems to be stagnant. This stagnation can be observed in the official data on the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of Mexico, and especially in the last 13 years (38 to 36 MM c/100,000NV).

Below you can see the MMR per 100,000 live births (LB), per year, in the period 2002-2022, in Mexicoalso becoming evident the peak of maternal deaths (MM) in the SARS Cov-2 pandemic (62 MM c/100,000NV).

Every maternal death is a tragedy, and to avoid it, it is necessary to know its specific causes. The main causes of maternal death in 2022 in Mexico were due to indirect obstetric causesthat is, diseases of the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and viral systems, among others, with an MMR of 12 c/100,000NV), hypertension (MMR of 7 c/100,000NV).

On the other hand, there were also direct obstetric causes, which result from obstetric complications of pregnancy, interventions, omissions, incorrect treatments, with an MMR of 7 c/100,000NV), hemorrhages (MMR of 6 c/100,000NV), and, finally, due to abortive outcomes (mostly non-induced abortions preventable with access to health, such as ectopic pregnancy, tubal pregnancy, hydatidiform mole, among others, with an MMR of 4 c/100,000NV.

The scientific analysis of official records of maternal deaths according to their causes and determining factors is a crucial tool for the surveillance and protection of women’s health.

In this direction, A team of researchers led by Dr. Elard Koch from the MELISA Institute carried out a study in Mexico scientist about determinants of Maternal Mortality.

The objective was to shed light on the determinants of maternal health, and examine whether or not the legalization of abortion has an association with maternal mortality. The results were overwhelming: “No scientific evidence was found to support an association between Mexican abortion legislation and MMR.”

Although a second group of researchers sought to refute and discredit this finding (with a $250,000 grant), they publicly retracted it in 2018, confirming the validity and reliability of the findings of the MELISA Institute study on maternal health in Mexico.

Main conclusions of a study on maternal health in Mexico

The conclusions, confirmed by peers and the scientific community, are:

First, although states less permissive to abortion exhibited lower maternal mortality rates, This finding was not explained by the abortion legislation itself., but rather by other factors independent of the legislation.

Secondly, that evidence-based public health interventions to improve maternal health in Mexico are:

  • Increase access to prenatal care and coverage of institutional births
  • Increase the number and access to obstetric emergency units
  • Expand specialized prenatal diagnosis and care centers for high-risk pregnancies, with the incorporation of other medical specialties
  • Increase access to appropriate fertility information counseling programs to promote healthy motherhood before age 35
  • Strengthen public policies aimed at increasing the number of years of schooling of the female population
  • Improve screening programs for violence against pregnant women during prenatal visits and intervention by trained health professionals
  • Address disparities in development indicators by increasing access to safe water and sanitation coverage.

It is essential to analyze the available scientific evidence to guarantee the healthy development of women. The study carried out by the MELISA Institute sheds light on this topic by demonstrating that The legalization of abortion is not associated with a reduction in maternal mortality.

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On the other hand, the support and care of pregnant women, access to qualified health services throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, the improvement of their living conditions, access to education, information and prevention play a role. crucial in the protection and promotion of maternal health.

A public policy that prioritizes women’s health and the reduction of maternal mortality finds its basis in these scientific findings, strategic to develop prevention interventions, to reduce the factors that put women’s health at risk and, to improve efficiency and equity in the investment of public policies.

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