Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background: The Three Delays Framework was instrumental in the reduction of maternal mortality leading up to, and during the Millennium Development Goals. However, this paper suggests the original framework might be reconsidered, now that most mothers give birth in facilities, the quality and continuity of the clinical care is of growing importance. Methods: The paper explores the factors that contributed to maternal deaths in rural Pakistan and Mozambique, using 76 verbal autopsy narratives from the Community Level Interventions for Pre-eclampsia (CLIP) Trial. Results: Qualitative analysis of these maternal death narratives in both countries reveals an interplay of various influences, such as, underlying risks and comorbidities, temporary improvements after seeking care, gaps in quality care in emergencies, convoluted referral systems, and arrival at the final facility in critical condition. Evaluation of these narratives helps to reframe the pathways of maternal mortality beyond a single journey of care-seeking, to update the categories of seeking, reaching and receiving care. Conclusions: There is a need to supplement the pioneering “Three Delays Framework” to include focusing on continuity of care and the “Four Critical Connection Points”: (1) between the stages of pregnancy, (2) between families and health care workers, (3) between health care facilities and (4) between multiple care-seeking journeys. Trial registration: NCT01911494, Date Registered 30/07/2013.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Publication Date