6 Improve maternal health

Where are we?

While recent progress has been achieved in curbing early childbearing, at 80 births per 1,000 adolescent women the Latin American rate remains the second highest among the developing regions.

Nonetheless, the Latin America and the Caribbean region registered the highest coverage of antenatal care for pregnant women among all developing regions, with a coverage increase of 72 percent in 1990 to 96 percent in 2010.

Contraceptive use also increased in the region, from 62 percent in 1990 to 74 percent in 2010.

Nonetheless, the percentage of women (aged 15-49) who have an unmet need for family planning is still very high in the Caribbean—ranking second highest among developing regions.

Maternal mortality ratio

Bar Chart
Targets for MDG 5
  1. Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
    • Most maternal deaths could be avoided
    • Giving birth is especially risky in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where most women deliver without skilled care
    • The rural-urban gap in skilled care during childbirth has narrowed
  2. Achieve universal access to reproductive health & inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health
    • More women are receiving antenatal care
    • Inequalities in care during pregnancy are striking
    • Only one in three rural women in developing regions receive the recommended care during pregnancy
    • Progress has stalled in reducing the number of teenage pregnancies, putting more young mothers at risk
    • Poverty and lack of education perpetuate high adolescent birth rates
    • Progress in expanding the use of contraceptives by women has slowed & use of contraception is lowest among the poorest women and those with no education