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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Maternal Health
First broadcast March 2004
Half a million women die during pregnancy and childbirth each year, and four million newborn babies die in the first month of life.

A lot of these deaths could be prevented with simple medical interventions.

In this two part series, Katie Knapman reports from around the world on the health and wellbeing of mothers and their children.

Part 1: Maternal Health

New mother Katie Knapman hears about the latest research on how to improve the general health of mothers to be, and looks at the risks to their health before and during childbirth.

Every year 100,000 women across the developing world find their lives destroyed by obstetric fistula, an injury sustained during obstructed labour. They become incontinent and are often ostracised by their community.

We take a look at how medical intervention repairs the damage in Nigeria and in Ethiopia and gives these women back their dignity.

Katie Knapman discovers that many women and babies die because of simple things like a lack of certain vitamins or because their labours are too long and they need medical intervention, such as a Caesarian section or a way to stop them bleeding.

She talks to doctors and midwives who are working to prevent further deaths.

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