Ireland’s Maternal Mortality Rate
Ireland ranks in the top league in the world in terms of safety for pregnant women. (See ‘Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015, Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division (2015)’.
So the argument that Ireland without abortion has put women’s lives at risk simply doesn’t add up.
Since 2009, Ireland has adopted the methodology used by the UK’s triennium report Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (CEMD) for measuring maternal deaths.
The UK’s CEMD is in operation for over 60 years and is recognised as the gold standard for enquiries into maternal deaths worldwide. It provides the most comprehensive assessment of maternal healthcare anywhere in the world, including other developed countries.
Underestimates of maternal death rates are extremely common. The Confidential Maternal Death Enquiry in Ireland published in 2015 says that in Europe alone underestimates of maternal deaths vary between 30% and 50%. It is important to keep this in mind when comparing Ireland’s maternal mortality rates to other countries, aside from the UK.
Based on the methodology used in Ireland’s Confidential Maternal Death Enquiry, Ireland has a safety record very close to the UK’s. Indeed, the 2015 Maternal Mortality Estimates by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, UNFPA and World Bank Group, put Ireland ahead of the UK, with 8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with 9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, in the single year.
In December 2017 it was reported that the Confidential Maternal Death Enquiry Report for 2013-2015 had recorded a MMR of 6.5 per 100,000 maternities. In the same period, the MMR in the UK was 8.76 per 100,000 maternities.