February 2017 -- Many women, their babies and children still die, or suffer from life-long disabilities, even after reaching a health facility, due to poor care practices. Improving the quality of care provided is of utmost urgency. With a target of halving maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years, national governments from 9 first wave countries and partners are joining forces to establish a Network to improve the quality of care provided to mothers, newborns and children. The Network will support countries to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve the vision set out by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
7 November 2016 – WHO has issued a new series of recommendations to improve quality of antenatal care to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience. By focusing on a positive pregnancy experience, these new guidelines seek to ensure not only a health pregnancy for mother and baby, but also an effective transition to positive labour and childbirth and ultimately to a positive experience of motherhood.
13 October 2016 -- The "Midwives voices, midwives realities report 2016" documents the voices and realities of 2740 midwifery personnel in 93 countries and describes, from their perspective, the barriers they experience to providing quality, respectful care for women, newborns and their families. The findings highlight that hierarchies of power and gender discrimination hinder progress, but also demonstrate the great potential for improvements in quality of care when the voices of midwives are heard.
16 August 2016 -- Every day, women die during childbirth and babies are born stillborn. With quality health care throughout pregnancy and childbirth, many of these deaths could be prevented, but countries often lack the knowledge and capacity needed to take actions to stop other women and babies dying in the same way. To address this issue WHO is today launching two new tools to help countries improve their data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths as well as a report on the global status of implementation of maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR), a key strategy for reducing preventable maternal mortality.
The 1-5 August is World Breastfeeding Week. The theme this year is “Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” as all of society has a role to play in making our communities more breastfeeding-friendly. One of the reasons for doing this is that, according to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake, "Breastfeeding is one of the most effective, and cost-effective ways to save and improve the lives of children everywhere, yielding lifelong health benefits for infants and their mothers."
5 May 2016 -- In Liberia, about 44% of women give birth at home without a skilled birth attendant. Nearly 1 in 138 live births result in a mother dying from preventable causes such as haemorrhage, sepsis or other reasons related to limited access to either basic midwifery or emergency obstetric care, such as caesarean sections. To improve access to quality midwifery care, the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, WHO and other partners are working to strengthen the country’s 6 midwifery schools, 3 of which are located in rural areas.
Highlighted maternal health topics
Maternal health topics
Statistics and epidemiology
Feature stories on maternal health
Ghanaian health workers use mobile phones to collect real-time maternal health data
Maternal death reviews help countries identify missed opportunities and plan interventions
Viet Nam breastfeeding campaign normalizes practice, improves rates
We're improving this website
News on maternal health
- Nine countries commit to halve maternal and newborn deaths in health facilities
- Pregnant women must be able to access the right care at the right time, says WHO
- WHO and partners call for better working conditions for midwives
- Call for nominations to join an expert review group on MNH indicators
- True magnitude of stillbirths and maternal and neonatal deaths underreported