Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Maternal health

New guidelines on antenatal care for a positive pregnancy experience

7 November 2016 – WHO has issued a new series of recommendations to improve quality of antenatal care to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience. By focusing on a positive pregnancy experience, these new guidelines seek to ensure not only a health pregnancy for mother and baby, but also an effective transition to positive labour and childbirth and ultimately to a positive experience of motherhood.

Midwives' voices, midwives' realities report 2016

13 October 2016 -- The "Midwives voices, midwives realities report 2016" documents the voices and realities of 2740 midwifery personnel in 93 countries and describes, from their perspective, the barriers they experience to providing quality, respectful care for women, newborns and their families. The findings highlight that hierarchies of power and gender discrimination hinder progress, but also demonstrate the great potential for improvements in quality of care when the voices of midwives are heard.

Counting and reviewing every birth and death is key to preventing future tragedies

A mother holds her baby.
WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

16 August 2016 -- Every day, women die during childbirth and babies are born stillborn. With quality health care throughout pregnancy and childbirth, many of these deaths could be prevented, but countries often lack the knowledge and capacity needed to take actions to stop other women and babies dying in the same way. To address this issue WHO is today launching two new tools to help countries improve their data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths as well as a report on the global status of implementation of maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR), a key strategy for reducing preventable maternal mortality.

Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere

Cartoon showing a restaurant waiter offerign a drink to a breastfeeding woman.
WHO

The 1-5 August is World Breastfeeding Week. The theme this year is “Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” as all of society has a role to play in making our communities more breastfeeding-friendly. One of the reasons for doing this is that, according to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake, "Breastfeeding is one of the most effective, and cost-effective ways to save and improve the lives of children everywhere, yielding lifelong health benefits for infants and their mothers."

Investing in trained midwives across Liberia

A midwife guides a mother who is breastfeeding her baby, Liberia.
WHO/Liberia

5 May 2016 -- In Liberia, about 44% of women give birth at home without a skilled birth attendant. Nearly 1 in 138 live births result in a mother dying from preventable causes such as haemorrhage, sepsis or other reasons related to limited access to either basic midwifery or emergency obstetric care, such as caesarean sections. To improve access to quality midwifery care, the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, WHO and other partners are working to strengthen the country’s 6 midwifery schools, 3 of which are located in rural areas.