This summary is based on information in the Ninth Annual Report of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PMMRC). The PMMRC is learning from the tragic deaths of mothers and babies to help save lives in the future.
‘He matenga ohorere, he wairua uiui, wairua mutunga-kore.
The grief of a sudden, untimely death will never be forgotten.’
‘Perinatal related deaths’ are babies who died during pregnancy or birth, or from the time they were born until they were four weeks old. In 2013 there were 598 perinatal related deaths.
The ‘mortality rate’ is the number of babies who died compared with the number of babies born. In 2013 the mortality rate was 10 deaths per 1000 births, the lowest since 2007.
A ‘stillbirth’ is the death of a baby from 20 weeks of pregnancy and during birth. In 2013 307 babies were stillborn. This is the lowest rate since 2007.
The rate is lower because the number of babies dying from 37 weeks pregnancy and during birth has gone down since 2007. The number of babies dying due to lack of oxygen in labour has gone down by 80 percent.
The three most common causes of stillbirths in 2013 were:
In 2013 it was not possible to identify the cause for 91 babies dying before birth.
A ‘neonatal death’ is the death of a baby during the first four weeks of life.
In 2013 there were 152 neonatal deaths. The neonatal death rate has not changed since 2007.
The three most common known causes related to the pregnancy for neonatal deaths in 2013 were:
A post-mortem is a detailed medical investigation of the body after death. It is a very important way of learning about the cause of death, and may prevent future deaths.
Results from a post-mortem can help parents plan for future pregnancies.
The Health Quality & Safety Commission has a pamphlet to help people decide whether to agree to a post-mortem examination after their baby has died.
In 2013 12 mothers died during pregnancy or in the first six weeks after giving birth (one mother for every 6000 babies born at 20 weeks or more).
Between 2006 and 2013, 89 mothers died during pregnancy or in the first six weeks after giving birth. The most frequent causes of these 89 deaths were: