During the 13 years 1960–1972, in a teaching hospital that serves a predominantly rural and semiurban population in southern India, there were 74,384 deliveries and 1245 maternal deaths, a maternal mortality rate of 16.7 per 1000 births. Direct obstetric factors caused 854 (65.5%) of these deaths. The leading indirect or associated causes of maternal deaths were anemia, cerebrovascular accidents, and infectious hepatitis. During the past 13 years, monthly maternal mortality meetings have helped to reduce the incidence of avoidable factors in maternal deaths among patients from the city but not among those brought from the surrounding countryside. The important causes of maternal deaths in this developing country, and their prevention, are individually discussed.
© 1975 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists