Worldwide, 25 million women a year suffer serious illness or complications during pregnancy and childbirth. At least 12 million women a year sustain the kind of damage in pregnancy and childbirth that will have a profound effect on their lives. And even allowing for the fact that some women will suffer such injuries more than once during their child-bearing years, the cumulative total of those affected can be conservatively estimated at some 300 million, or more than a quarter of the adult women now alive in the developing world. The worst offenders are in sub-Saharan Africa, where women die in childbirth at rates 160 times those of Canada -- approximately one fatality in every one hundred pregnancies. The overall chance of dying during pregnancy in Canada is 1 in 7,700; in Africa as a whole, 1 in 21. The ten countries with the highest annual rates of death in childbirth are: Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Guinea, Somalia, Angola, Chad, Mozambique, Nepal, and Yemen.
The national telephone helpline in the UK receives over 25,000 calls a year from parents needing help with their healthy but demanding children.