What is an estimation of Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR, number of mother death per 100000 births) without professional healthcare? In other words, how often women die during childbirth in some wild tribes which do not use modern healthcare at all and give birth at home? Or for example what was the MMR in the past, when women all gave births at home without or with poor medical assistance?

I am asking, because I stumbled upon an estimation, which I do not believe to be correct in a book. The estimation was that one of 8 women would die during childbirth without medical assistance. The book is "Brain Rules for Baby" by John Medina.

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  • @CareyGregory thank you for your comment. Before posting the question I tried some quick googling and looked in Wikipedia. Now I am doing more thorough research for reliable sources on the subject. However I am new on this particular stackexchange site so it is not clear for me, how I was supposed to go about asking my question. I mean that when I finish my finding and investigation of the sources, I am going to be able to answer my question myself. So should I not have posted the question until I knew the answer myself? Oct 19, 2019 at 6:26
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    Oct 19, 2019 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


I believe the answer is somewhere between 0.5% and 1% (about 500-1000 deaths per 100000 births). Below is the list of the sources I reviewed. Some sources provide higher estimates, but those should be attributed to unsanitary conditions in hospitals in the past (in the past births in a hospital were more dangerous than at home, because of contamination by the doctors).

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