Experts Say Japan's Medical Delivery System Is Partly To Blame for High Level of Maternal Mortality There

Hollander, D.
November 2000
Family Planning Perspectives;Nov/Dec2000, Vol. 32 Issue 6, p309
Academic Journal
This article focuses on the high level of maternal mortality rate in Japan and the inadequacies in Japan's system of delivering obstetric care. In 1991-1992, 230 Japanese women died while pregnant or within 42 days after their pregnancy ended; the resulting maternal mortality rate of 95 deaths per 100,000 live births is somewhat higher than rates in other developed countries at roughly the same time. A 15-member study group was convened to conduct the inquiry using data from death certificates to identify maternal deaths. The group investigated the details of each case by sending a questionnaire to the medical facility that provided care to the woman or, in instances where the woman had not received care, to the coroner's office. In addition to examining the characteristics of women who died and the causes of death, the group asessed characteristics of medical facilities involved, such as staffing patterns and the availability of laboratory services. The most common cause of death among women who had received medical care was prenatal or postpartum hemorrhage; a variety of other direct and indirect causes each accounted for fewer than 15% of deaths. Similarly, postpartum hemorrhage was the most frequent cause of death among women who had not received medical attention.


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