The maternal mortality rate in Vietnam is 75 per 100,000 live births, more than five times the rate in developed countries, a conference held by Ho Chi Minh City Health Department was told on Wednesday.
HCMC doctors convened the meeting following six maternity deaths between April 19 and May 6 across Vietnam, online newspaper Dan Tri reported.
Dr. Tran Ngoc Hai of Tu Du Hospital said the obstetrical sector has the highest number of fatalities in the health sector of Vietnam.
Dr. Vu Thi Nhung, chairwoman of the HCMC Obstetricians Association, blamed a limited awareness among pregnant women of health risks during pregnancy.
A large number of women do not go for periodical prenatal checkups to discover abnormal signs during their pregnancy, she said, adding that many women get fevers and think they have the flu but in fact are infected with bacteria.
But she also said that unexpected complications can happen when women go into labor.
Doctors said Vietnamese hospitals have recently been put under pressure as more and more women choose to give birth by caesarean section since they think the method has fewer risks than giving birth the natural way.
In fact, the rates of maternal and child deaths in giving birth by caesarean section are higher than those in giving birth the natural way, doctors said.
In Vietnam, 41 percent of maternal deaths are caused by hemorrhages. Convulsions account for 21.3 percent of deaths, infection 16.6 percent and unsafe abortion 11.5 percent.