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Li, X. F.; Fortney, Judith A.; Kotelchuck, Milton; & Glover, Lucinda H. (1996). The Postpartum Period: The Key to Maternal Mortality. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 54(1), 1-10.


Objectives: To assess postpartum care at an international level, we reviewed published literature on postpartum maternal deaths.
Methods: Meta-analysis was used to summarize the literature reviewed. Postpartum deaths in developing countries were compared with those in the United States.
Results: In both developing countries and the United States, > 60% of maternal deaths occurred in the postpartum period; 45% of postpartum deaths occurred within 1 day of delivery, > 65% within 1 week, > 80% within 2 weeks. In developing countries, 80% of postpartum deaths caused by obstetric factors occurred within 1 week.
Conclusions: The first 24 h postpartum and the first postpartum week is the high risk of postpartum deaths, and the risk remains significant until the second week after delivery. In developing countries, hemorrhage, pregnancy-induced hypertension complications, and obstetric infection are commonest causes of postpartum deaths. We suggest primary prevention, early detection, and secondary prevention of postpartum deaths.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics


Li, X. F.
Fortney, Judith A.
Kotelchuck, Milton
Glover, Lucinda H.