Safe motherhood programmes most often focus on reducing maternal death in developing countries, but rarely pay attention to the women who survive severe obstetric complications and the often inadequate care they receive.
To help these women who have long been neglected, Immpact, a global research initiative, sought to improve the design and evaluation of safe motherhood programmes by increasing the knowledge of the health, social, and economic consequences of pregnancy and delivery-related complications for women.
These consequences, or \"outcomes after pregnancy,\" include diagnosed and perceived illness or disability following pregnancy (including psychiatric illness) and social and economic consequences of pregnancy and delivery-related complications (see figure). The burden of disease from maternal causes has been underestimated due to lack of attention to outcomes after pregnancy. When planning or evaluating safe motherhood programmes, one must pay attention to the outcomes after pregnancy in addition to data on maternal death in order to create a more holistic and longer-term approach to maternal health.
Measuring and Addressing Outcomes After PregnancyA Holistic Approach to Maternal Health, Immpact, University of Aberdeen, UK, 2 pp.