Psychiatric causes of maternal deaths: Lessons from the confidential enquiries into maternal deaths
Oates, Margaret R.
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The UK Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths, published triennially, are over 50 years old. Its forebears are even older; enquiries into maternal deaths began early in the 19th century in Scotiand. In the 20th century the numbers of women dying from childbirth has steadily declined, influenced by many factors, including improved public health and maternity care, smaller family size, blood transfusions, and antibiotics, to name but a few. The introduction of the Abortion Act in 1967 was followed by a marked reduction of deaths in pregnancy from the consequences of illegal abortion. The rate and causes of maternal death have always been influenced by changes in reproductive epidemiology and technology, and continue to be so. This chapter discusses maternal death and the influences of maternal psychiatric disorder. Psychiatric disorder increases the risk of maternal death. Late pregnancy and the early puerperium increases the risk of suicide. The risks are reducible. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(chapter)