SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.47 issue2Age-period-cohort effect on mortality from cervical cancerBrazilian adaptation of the questionnaire to assess adherence to treatment for arterial hypertension author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910


ALVES, Mercia Maria Rodrigues; ALVES, Sandra Valongueiro; ANTUNES, Maria Bernadete de Cerqueira  and  SANTOS, Dirce Luiza Pereira dos. External causes and maternal mortality: proposal for classification. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.2, pp.283-291. ISSN 0034-8910.


To analyze deaths from external causes and undefined causes in women of childbearing age occurring during pregnancy and early postpartum.


The deaths of 399 women of childbearing age, resident in Recife, Northeastern Brazil, in the period 2004 to 2006, were studied. The survey utilized the Reproductive Age Mortality Survey method and a set of standardized questionnaires. Data sources included reports from the Institute of Legal Medicine, hospital and Family Health Strategy records and interviews with relatives of the deceased women. External causes of death during pregnancy were classified according to the circumstance of death, using the O93 code (ICD) and maternal mortality ratios before and after the classification were calculated.


Eighteen deaths during pregnancy were identified. The majority were aged between 20 and 29, had between 4 and 7 years of schooling, were black and single parents. Fifteen deaths were classified using the O93 code as pregnancy related death (13 for homicide – code 93.7; 2 by suicide – code 93.6) and three were classified as indirect obstetric maternal deaths (one homicide – code 93.7 and two by suicide – code 93.6). There was an average increment of 35% in the RMM after classification.


Deaths from undefined causes in and in early postpartumdid not occur by chance and their exclusion from the calculations of maternal mortality indicators only increases levels of underreporting.

Keywords : Pregnant Women; Violence Against Women; External Causes; Maternal Mortality; Classification.

        · abstract in Portuguese | Spanish     · text in English | Portuguese     · English ( pdf ) | Portuguese ( pdf )