Eliminating maternal mortality, which is defined as the deaths related to pregnancy, would result in a gain of over a half year in life expectancy worldwide, according to a new study.
Over the twentieth century, women's life expectancy in developed countries increased by 0.5 years due to a near elimination of maternal mortality.
In sub-Saharan African countries, the possible achievable gains from eliminating maternal mortality fluctuate between 0.24 and 1.47 years, or 6 percent and 44 percent of potential gains.
"This gain in life expectancy may seem a small increase at a first glance, but the added survival time takes place during the most productive ages of human life and carries with it non-trivial socio-economic implications for families, workforces, and communities," lead author Vladimir Canudas-Romo, said.
The study focuses on women's Reproductive-Age Life Expectancy, which covers the ages of 15 to 49.
While maternal deaths are a rare event, eliminating them yields important benefits, including a significant increase to what many consider the most productive ages of human life.
This would be a bonus to continuing along the trajectory of Millennium Development Goal 5, a reduction in maternal mortality of 75 percent by 2015.
The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.