KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — The number of women in Malaysia who die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications has increased, the Health Ministry revealed, amid a perceived rise in teenage pregnancies.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad told Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah in a written parliamentary reply yesterday that Malaysia’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) — which is the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births — increased from 21.4 per 100,000 live births in 2013 to 25 per 100,000 live births in 2017.
He revealed that Malaysia’s MMR was 23.8 in 2015 and rose to 29.1 per 100,000 live births in 2016, before falling to 25.0 in 2017.
“For the year 2017, data shows that deaths were mainly caused by postpartum haemorrhage that contributed to 26 percent of all causes of death.
“This was followed by pulmonary embolism (19.4 percent), associated medical conditions (14.2 percent), hypertensive disorder in pregnancy (9.4 percent), and amniotic fluid embolism (7.9 percent),” Dzulkefly said.
He added that Malaysian women comprised an average of 65.5 percent of maternal deaths from 2013 to 2017.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, developed countries’ MMR in 2015 was 12 per 100,000 live births, compared to 239 per 100,000 live births in developing countries that year.
Bernama reported last January an average of 18,000 teenage pregnancies in Malaysia a year, 75 percent of which occur in marriage.
Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre reportedly expected a rise in teen pregnancy.
According to Bernama, about 14 in every 1,000 underage girls in Malaysia fall pregnant annually, compared to four pregnancies for every 1,000 underage girls in Singapore and three out of every 1,000 in Hong Kong.