Maternal and Reproductive Health

Save the Children works to improve maternal, newborn, infant and child survival in communities around the world. Access to contraception for healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy will help women achieve the healthiest outcomes for women, newborns, infants and children. When mothers become pregnant again too soon after giving birth, it puts their health and their children's health and well-being at risk.

It's estimated that family planning already helps save the lives of at least 272,000 women and girls worldwide every year.

  • Globally, an estimated 222 million women and girls in the developing world have an unmet need for family planning services.

16 million adolescent girls, aged 15–19 give birth each year, and are at risk of adverse outcomes for themselves and their babies.

  • Addressing this unmet need by increasing their access to modern methods of contraception and creating supportive, enabling policies and community environments would prevent an additional 79,000 maternal deaths.

Watch Our Video

Save the Children's Senior Director of Family Planning & Reproductive Health, Winifride Mwebesa, speaks on the importance of family planning in reducing maternal and child deaths worldwide.

Save the Children works to:

  • Create a supportive environment for the use of contraception
  • Increase access to, and improve the quality of and generate demand for family planning services, particularly in rural, underserved populations
  • Strengthen local delivery of family planning education and services. Examples include training community health workers to provide a wide range of methods including injectable contraception.
  • Improve policies, enhance systems and services and build local capacity
  • Understand and overcome practical and cultural barriers to better reproductive health practices
  • Improve health systems' attention to and results in family planning programs and policies

How Family Planning Helps Children

In addition to improving survival rates for mothers and babies, use of family planning reduces the spread of HIV by averting pregnancy in HIV-infected women preventing unintended pregnancy among HIV positive women who do not want to become pregnant. Fertility declines are associated with an increase in women’s health, earnings and participation in paid employment. When teen-aged girls delay motherhood until their bodies are ready, they stay in school and can create better, healthier lives for themselves – and their children.

Save the Children has a team of 1,000 health professionals worldwide who specialize in maternal health, family planning, reproductive health, neonatal health, child survival, HIV and AIDS, and community mobilization. These dedicated health professionals work in some of the most challenging contexts, including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Guinea, Sudan, Haiti, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen.

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