On this page, you can find a variety of sources for statistics relating to maternal health. As we are always looking for additional information to share, please contact us if you have resources that are useful.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maternal mortality ratio in [country]?
Estimated maternal mortality ratios (MMR) are available from the United Nations (2012) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2011) via The Lancet.

What is the rate of contraceptive use in [country]?
Contraceptive prevalence rates by country are available from the World Health Organization, the Population Reference Bureau, and other sources.

What is the fertility rate in [country]?
Estimated fertility rates by country are available from the World Health Organization and through various sources at Gapminder, as well as through other sources.

What percentage of births occur in a health facility?
Location of birth (health facility, home, other) is available for many countries through Measure DHS (choose country(ies) in box 1 and “Place of Birth” under “Maternal and Child Health” in box 2).

What percentage of birth occur with skilled attendance?
Information on skilled birth attendance in a given country is available from IHME (click the data tab and choose “Skilled Attendance”) and from the Population Reference Bureau.

What percentage of women receive antenatal care?
Percentages of women who receive antenatal care (at least one visit and at least four visits) for select countries are available from the World Health Organization, Measure DHS (choose country(ies) in box 1 and relevant indicator(s) under “Maternal and Child Health” in box 2), and the Population Reference Bureau.


Sources for Maternal Health Statistics

African Health Statistics

Source: the African Union
Language: English, French
Intended users: researchers, advocates, policy makers
Data can be downloaded?: yes
Example of available maternal health statistics: adolescent fertility rate; births attended by skilled personnel, contraceptive prevalence; pregnant women tested for HIV and know status

Reproductive Health Data and Statistics

Source:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Language: English
Intended users: academics, policymakers, professional researchers
Overview: The CDC site provides free access to multiple databases contained health information and statistics for the United States. For users concerned with maternal health, CPONDER and PeriStats will likely be the most useful of the available databases.
Data can be downloaded?: No
Example of available maternal health statistics: use of contraceptive; hospital stays for pregnancy-related complication; number of previous live births; maternal morbidity.

DHS Maternal Health

Source: Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)
Language: English
Intended users: academics, policymakers, professional researchers
Overview: MEASURE DHS (Demographic and Health Surveys) contains data from hundreds of surveys from over 85 countries. Available topics include fertility, family planning, maternal and child health, gender, HIV/AIDS, malaria and nutrition. The datasets are freely distributed for academic research, but registration is required for access to raw data. However, users are able to create tables of selected data from surveys without registration, through STATcompiler. Additionally, users are able to use data to create GIS maps through STATmapper.
Data can be downloaded?: Yes, with registration. Available formats: Hierarchical CSPro file; flat file; SPSS system file; SAS system file; STATA system file
Examples of available maternal health statistics: attitudes of couples toward family planning; reason for not using contraception; knowledge of fertile period; heard family planning on radio and television.

Gapminder

Source: Gapminder
Language: English, some datasets are also available in Swedish
Intended users: academics, policymakers, students, NGO staff, field staff, advocates
Overview: Gapminder was developed to show “the beauty of statistics for a fact based world view.” The free website includes over 200 datasets relating to the Millennium Development Goals and allows users to easily create animated visualizations of data.
Data can be downloaded?: Yes. Available formats: Excel
Examples of available maternal health statistics: maternal death, total number; maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births); contraceptive use; births attended by skilled health staff.

Maternal Mortality Data

Source:Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)
Language: English
Intended users: academics, policymakers, NGO staff, NGO field staff, students, advocates
Overview: The data available on the IHME website were published in The Lancet in April 2010 and covers maternal mortality in 181 countries from 1980 to 2008. The data can be freely downloaded as a Microsoft Excel document or users can create interactive charts and maps showing maternal mortality by region or country.
Data can be downloaded?: Yes. Available formats: Excel
Examples of available maternal health statistics: maternal mortality ratio (MMR); maternal education; skilled birth attendance; maternal deaths; total fertility rate.

Child Info: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Women

Source:United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Language: English
Intended users: policymakers, NGO staff, students, advocates
Overview: UNICEF hosts the UN inter-agency estimates on maternal mortality compiled by UNICEF, the World Health Organization; the United Nations Population Fund, and the World Bank. Published in April 2010, Trends in Maternal Mortality, 1990-2008, provides updated MMR country estimates. Users can download the full report, tables of data, and view various charts created for the report.
Data can be downloaded?: Yes. Available formats: Excel
Examples of available maternal health statistics: maternal deaths per 100,000 live births (MMR); total maternal deaths; causes of maternal death; lifetime risk of maternal death.

Global Health Observatory (GHO)

Source:World Health Organization (WHO)
Language: English
Intended users: academics, policymakers, NGO staff, NGO field staff, students, advocates
Overview: The Global Health Observatory (GHO) hosts a wide variety of freely available data relating to health and includes data previously contained in the WHO Statistical Information System (WHOSIS). From the main page, users can access data tables for all member states. A page that is useful for those working in the maternal health field is the “Women and Health” page that contains specific health information relating to women, as well as information on family planning.
Data can be downloaded?: Yes. Available formats: Excel
Examples of available maternal health statistics: total fertility rate; births attended by skilled health personnel; contraceptive prevalence; adolescent fertility rate; unmet need for family planning.

DataFinder

Source:Population Reference Bureau
Language: English
Intended users: academics, policymakers, professional researchers, NGO staff, students, advocates, public health professionals
Overview: Datafinder at the Population Reference Bureau contains a wide variety of freely available statistics on reproductive health divided by United States (by state) and World data that can be viewed online or downloaded into Excel. For those in the maternal health field, the Reproductive Health – World Data will likely be the most useful source of information.
Data can be downloaded?: Yes. Available formats: Excel
Examples of available maternal health statistics: births attended by skilled health professional, contraceptive use (by type, by age, by wealth), antenatal care, unmet need for family planning, lifetime risk of maternal death, knowledge of family planning

World Population Prospects (pdf)

Source:United Nations Population Division
Language: English
Intended users: academics, policymakers, students, advocates, public health professional, NGO staff, professional researchers
Overview: The Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs hosts freely available population statistics and projections to 2050, many of which relate to maternal health and can be downloaded as a .CSV file. Choose Panel 2: Detailed data on the left navigation bar to access relevant statistics. Up to five countries and five variables may be viewed at one time. Additionally, country profiles are available that compile all statistics for up to five countries onto one page.
Data can be downloaded?: Yes. Available formats: .CSV
Examples of available maternal health statistics: total fertility, births by age group of mother, age-specific fertility rates, population growth rate.

Countdown to 2015 Country Profiles

Source:Countdown to 2015
Language: English
Intended users: policymakers, public health professionals, NGO staff, NGO field staff, students
Overview: Countdown to 2015: Maternal, Newborn & Child Survival hosts freely available fact sheets on a number of developing countries regarding progress towards Millennium Development Goals.
Data can be downloaded?: No
Examples of available maternal health statistics: causes of maternal death; skilled attendant at delivery; coverage along the continuum of care; antenatal care.

Open Data

Source:World Bank
Language:English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese
Intended users: academics, policymakers, NGO staff, NGO field staff, students, advocates
Overview: The World Bank has a tremendous amount of data that can be freely used and downloaded. Its data site also includes mapping tools and allows data to be viewed by country, topic or indicator. The site includes a tutorial explaining the various ways that users can use and interact with the available data.
Data can be downloaded?: Yes. Available formats: Excel and XML
Examples of available maternal health statistics: total fertility rate; maternal mortality ratio; life expectancy; contraceptive prevalence; births attended by skilled health staff