Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2009 Feb;142(2):124-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2008.10.009. Epub 2008 Dec 5.

Maternal mortality in Denmark, 1985-1994.

Author information

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hillerød Hospital, DK-3400 Hillerød, Denmark.



In Denmark, maternal mortality has been reported over the last century, both locally through hospital reports and in national registries. The purpose of this study was to analyze data from national medical registries of pregnancy-related deaths in Denmark 1985-1994 and to classify them according to the UK Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (CEMD).


All deaths of women with a registered pregnancy within 12 months prior to the death were identified by comparing the Danish medical registries, death certificates, and relevant codes according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). All cases were classified using the UK CEMD classification. Cases of maternal death were further evaluated by an audit group.


311 cases were classified. 92 deaths (29.6%) occurred <or= 42 days after termination of pregnancy. Of these, 30 were classified as direct obstetric deaths, 30 as indirect obstetric deaths, and 32 as fortuitous deaths. Among the late pregnancy-related deaths (>42 days), 1 woman died from a direct obstetric cause, 46 from indirect causes, and 172 from fortuitous causes. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy were the major cause of direct maternal deaths. The rate of maternal deaths constituted 9.8/100,000 maternities (i.e. the number of women delivering registrable live births at any gestation or stillbirths at 24 weeks of gestation or later).


This is the first systematic report on deaths in Denmark based on data from national registries. The maternal mortality rate in Denmark is comparable to the rates in other developed countries. Fortunately, statistics are low, but each case represents potential learning. Obstetric care has changed and classification methods differ between countries. Prospective registration and registry linkage seem to be a way to ensure completion. This retrospective study has provided the background for a prospective study on registration and evaluation of maternal mortality in Denmark.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk