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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1998 Jul;79(1):57-62.

Confidential enquiry into maternal deaths in The Netherlands 1983-1992.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Diakonessenhuis Utrecht, The Netherlands.



To determine the causes of maternal death in The Netherlands.


Nationwide Confidential Enquiry into the Causes of Maternal Deaths during the period 1983-1992.


Of 192 direct and indirect maternal deaths, 154 (80%) were available for the Enquiry. The most frequent direct causes were (pre-)eclampsia, thrombo-embolism, obstetrical haemorrhage and sepsis. Cerebro- and cardiovascular disorders were the most frequent indirect causes of death. Age above 35 years and parity 3 or more are related to higher maternal mortality. Women from non-caucasian origin are more prone to death in comparison to caucasian women. Autopsy was performed in 88 cases (57%). Of the 24 women where labour started at home, the place of birth played a significant role in delay in four.


More efforts should be made to have a higher percentage than 80% available for the Confidential Enquiry as in the UK where only 1-4% of deaths are not available for similar purposes. Also, the autopsy rate of 57% is much lower than in the UK (82%). Special strategies should be developed to improve maternal health of populations at higher risk such as women of high age and parity and immigrant populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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