The maternal mortality rate in Viet Nam currently stands at 75 per 100,000 live births, over five times higher than that in developed countries, according to the HCM City Health Department.
City doctors discussed the findings at a conference following six deaths between April 19 and May 6 across the country.
Doctor Tran Ngoc Hai, from the Tu Du Hospital, said the obstetrical sector had the highest number of fatalities in the health sector though it had seen a decrease over the past decade.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the local maternal mortality rate was 250/100,000 cases.
Presently, the rate in developed countries such as the US and the UK was 14/100,000, Hai said.
Meanwhile, Vu Thi Nhung, chairwoman of the HCM City Obstetricians Association, blamed the limited awareness on health risks during pregnancy among women.
A large number of women did not go for periodical prenatal check-ups, she said, adding that many developed fevers thought to be due to colds, but in fact caused by bacterial infection.
However, she said that unexpected complications could always happen when women went into labour.
"The rate of women suffering from amniotic fluid embolism is from 1/8,000 to 1/30,000 and cannot be predicted," Nhung said.
The occurrence was rare, but 90 per cent of women suffering from it died, she added.
Doctors said Vietnamese hospitals had recently been put under pressure as more and more women chose to give birth by caesarean sections since they thought the method entailed fewer risks than giving birth the natural way.
In fact, the rates of maternal and child deaths associated with caesareans were higher in comparison to that of natural births, Nhung noted.
In Viet Nam, 41 per cent of maternal deaths are caused by haemorrhage while convulsions account for 21.3 per cent, infection for 16.6 per cent and unsafe abortions for 11.5 per cent.
On April 29, Ngo Thi Hong Thu, 30, from HCM City, died due to amniotic fluid embolism during a caesarean birth while on April 20 a 34-year-old woman and her newborn baby died at the Kinh Bac Hospital in northern Bac Ninh City.
On April 19, a 23-year-old woman from central Quang Ngai Province died after a caesarean operation, her newborn son died some days later.
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