Knowledge and Resource Hub
11 February 2019

Maternal deaths in Australia 2016

This report from the AIHW provides information on maternal mortality rates between 2006 and 2016. In Australia, where childbirth is safe for most women, maternal death is rare. Between 2006 and 2016, 281 women were reported to have died during pregnancy or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy; while the maternal mortality rate in Australia in 2016 was 8.5 deaths per 100,000 women giving birth. The most common causes of maternal deaths are non-obstetric haemorrhage and heart disease. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have a higher incidence of maternal death than non-Indigenous women. The maternal mortality rate  was relatively stable between 2006 and 2016. Between 2006 and 2016, of the women who were reported to be pregnant at the time of their death, two in five (38.6%) died during the first trimester (less than 14 weeks of pregnancy) and one in five (21.1%) maternal deaths occurred during the birth process or within 24 hours of giving birth.