High-Risk Pregnancies Are a Killer in Latin America and Around the World

Photo Credit: Fondazione Francesca-Rava

This content is provided in partnership with GUCCI Beauty for CHIME FOR CHANGE.

The Situation

Across the globe, 800 women die daily due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). But those deaths are not distributed equally - not even close. In fact, 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

Severe bleeding, infections and hypertensive disorders (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia) are among the top killers of pregnant women worldwide, according to WHO. Sadly, most of the deaths caused by such high-risk situations are preventable. The women who suffer are those who lack access to skilled and emergency obstetric care. In such cases, swift diagnosis—along with medication, cesarean section operations and other treatments—can save the life of the mother and the baby.

While all women of childbearing age are impacted by the threat of maternal death, the situation for teens is particularly terrifying. In low- and middle-income countries, reports WHO, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 through 19.

The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region is among the most impacted by high-risk pregnancies in young women. According to a recent World Bank report, the region has the third highest teenage fertility rate in the world (72 births for every 1,000 women under 19 years of age). Economic disparity, lack of contraceptive education, coerced sex, and the inability to control material life decisions are leading indicators of early motherhood and are directly correlated to high-risk pregnancies.

The threat of maternal death in Latin America is four times higher among teenagers younger than 16 years as compared to women in their twenties. Young women also face depression, sexually transmitted diseases, stillbirths, pre-term birth and even death as a result of adolescent pregnancy.

Making a Difference

Through its Mamma Mia project, Fondazione Francesca-Rava helps cover the medical costs for cesarean section operations at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Haiti. While the hospital performs nearly 400 deliveries per month free of charge, cesarean sections are more costly and require large donations. By providing the funds needed for 25 cesarean sections, Fondazione Francesca-Rava hopes to prevent poor mothers in the community from succumbing to complications of their high-risk pregnancies simply because they could not afford the procedure.

to support Fondazione Francesca-Rava's Mamma Mia project. To learn more about the Chime for Change campaign to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world, visit

You can donate $5 to Chime for Change with the purchase of select Gucci fragrances. Just visit www.gucci.com.

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