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The causes of maternal mortality in adolescents in low and middle income countries: a systematic review of the literature

Neal, Sarah, Mahendra, Shanti, Camacho, Alma Virginia, Mathai, Matthews ORCID:, Nove, Andrea, Felipe, Santana and Zoe, Matthews (2016) 'The causes of maternal mortality in adolescents in low and middle income countries: a systematic review of the literature'. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Vol 16, Issue 352.

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Background: While the main causes of maternal mortality in low and middle income countries are well understood, less is known about whether patterns for maternal deaths among adolescents are the same as for older women. This study systematically reviews the literature on cause of maternal death in adolescence. Where possible we compare the main causes for adolescents with those for older women to ascertain differences and similarity in patterns of mortality.
Methods: An initial search for papers and grey literature in English, Spanish and Portuguese was carried out using a number of electronic databases based on a pre-determined search strategy. The outcome of interest was the proportion of maternal deaths amongst adolescents by cause of death. A total of 15 papers met the inclusion criteria established in the study protocol.

Results: The main causes of maternal mortality in adolescents are similar to those of older women: hypertensive disorders, haemorrhage, abortion and sepsis. However there was marked heterogeneity between papers which could indicate country or regional differences in the importance of specific causes of adolescent maternal mortality.
When compared with causes of death for older women, hypertensive disorders were found to be a more important cause of mortality for adolescents in a number of studies in a range of settings. In terms of indirect causes of death, there are indications that malaria is a particularly important cause of adolescent maternal mortality in some

Conclusion: The main causes of maternal mortality in adolescents are broadly similar to those for older women, although the findings suggest some heterogeneity between countries and regions. However there is evidence that the relative importance of specific causes may differ for this younger age group compared to women over the age of 20 years. In particular hypertensive conditions make up a larger share of maternal deaths in adolescents than older women. Further, large scale studies are needed to investigate this question further.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WQ Obstetrics > Pregnancy > WQ 200 General works
WQ Obstetrics > Pregnancy Complications > WQ 240 Pregnancy complications (General)
WQ Obstetrics > Labor > WQ 300 General works
WQ Obstetrics > Labor > WQ 330 Complications of labor
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Caroline Hercod
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2016 11:58
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2019 12:43


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