Objective: To assess recent maternal mortality in Sweden according to the different definitions of the eighth, ninth, and tenth editions of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
Methods: All maternal deaths in Sweden during 1980- 1988 were sought in the Medical Birth Registry and in the Registers of Births and Deaths. Hospital records and autopsy reports were requisitioned.
Results: According to ICD-9, the maternal mortality ratio in Sweden for 1980-1988 was 7.4 per 100,000 live births. Of the 58 deaths, 36 were direct maternal deaths. Embolism, hemorrhage, preeclampsia, and infection were the predominant causes in the direct cases. Advanced age was the most pronounced risk factor. Suboptimal standard of care was a contributing cause in almost one-third of the direct maternal deaths. Accidental or incidental deaths, including suicide, accidents, and pregnancy-related deaths, added six cases. There were 76 late maternal deaths, occurring 43-365 days postpartum. Malignancy, stroke, and heart disease were the predominant causes. After malignant disease, suicide constituted the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths within 1 year of delivery.
Conclusion: Regular reviews of maternal mortality are still important in a country with a low rate of maternal deaths. The new classification of maternal deaths allows a better international comparison of mortality risks. Continuous surveillance of maternal deaths and pregnancy-related deaths requires record linkage of birth and death registrations.
© 1994 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists