Every mother hopes for a safe pregnancy and delivery, welcoming their newborn into the world under the best of circumstances. But for far too many women, access to quality maternal healthcare remains a major challenge. Lack of access can have devastating consequences – complications from pregnancy and childbirth are among the leading causes of death and disability for women of reproductive age globally.

The numbers are staggering. According to the World Health Organization, about 810 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. An additional 20 others suffer injury, infection or disability for every woman who tragically loses her life. In low and lower-middle income countries, a woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death can be as high as 1 in 45.

Behind these grim statistics are millions of individual stories of mothers who didn’t receive the care they needed – simple interventions that could have saved lives. The challenges preventing women from accessing quality maternal healthcare are complex and multi-faceted, but understanding them is the first step toward creating lasting solutions.

  1. Geographic And Financial Barriers
    For many women, especially in remote and rural areas, the nearest healthcare facility with emergency obstetric services is simply too far away. Long distances, lack of reliable transportation, and poor road conditions turn what should be a routine check-up or delivery into an obstacle course that puts lives at risk. These barriers are exacerbated by deep poverty, which makes even minor fees for services or transportation costs unaffordable for families subsisting on just a few dollars a day.
  2. Lack Of Information And Cultural Stigmas
    Even when healthcare facilities are nearby, some women remain unaware of their importance or are unsure when and how to seek care. Misinformation and lack of access to family planning education perpetuates high birth rates that strain limited resources. Cultural stigmas and beliefs can also be barriers, like the preference for home births with traditional but risky practices. In some communities, women have little autonomy in deciding to seek maternal care.
  3. Insufficient Investment And Infrastructure
    Another root cause is the widespread lack of robust healthcare systems dedicated to maternal, newborn and child health. Too few trained health workers, lack of properly equipped facilities, inadequate supplies like blood for transfusions – an array of infrastructure challenges hinder the delivery of quality care. At a systemic level, gender inequities and disproportionate investment in maternal health exacerbate these gaps.


Addressing the complex web of issues preventing women from accessing quality maternal healthcare requires multi-faceted, context-specific solutions driven by the voices and needs of local communities. Robust public health education initiatives, investment in training healthcare workers, strengthening health systems and infrastructure, and prioritizing maternal health through greater funding and accountability.

No mother should have to risk her life to bring new life into this world. Ensuring every woman has access to quality maternal healthcare isn’t just a moral imperative – it’s a life-saving necessity.

Credit: Victoria

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