Purpose: to establish a list of diseases promoting maternal death according to frequency. Methods: In 1996, 65,406 deaths were recorded in the City of São Paulo, 26,778 of which were of women. Of these, 4591 were within the 10-49 year age bracket. We analyzed the latter group, regarding at the field "Cause of Death" in the Death Certificate, trying to establish some correlation between the described pathology, and the pregnancy-puerperium cycle. We separated for a further study 293 Death Certificates, from which we selected, after hospital survey and/or home visits, a total of 119 positive cases for maternal death. The positive cases for maternal death were then tabulated, grouped and analyzed according to age and pathology, using the great medical care groups. Results: as regards the 119 positive cases for maternal death, we did not find any reference to the pregnancy-puerperium state in 53 of them (that is, 40.54% subnotifying). The cases were grouped according to pathology, where we found a predominance of eclampsia/pre-eclampsia cases (18.02%), followed by cases resulting from hemorrhagic complications in the third quarter and puerperium (12.61%), abortion complications (12.61%), puerperal infection (9.91%) and cardiopathies (9.91%). Conclusions: for the first time, we are publishing the Late Maternal Mortality Coefficient for the City of São Paulo, which was 51.33/100,000 born alive. However, we used for the official publication the Maternal Mortality Coefficient for death within up to 42 days of puerperium, which was, 48.03/100,000 born alive for the city of São Paulo. We should bear in mind that no correction factor should be applied to these figures since we have made an active search of cases.
Maternal mortality coefficient; Pregnancy complications; Maternal mortality; Eclampsia; Cardiopathy in pregnancy; Hemorrhagic complications in pregnancy