Sixty-eight deaths during pregnancy, parturition and puerperium were recorded in Sweden during the years 1971–80, giving a maternal mortality of 6.6 per 100 000 live births. the figurese for abdominal delivery and vaginal were 45.0 and 2.5 per 100000 live births respectively. Am-niotic fluid embolism, pulmonary embolism and hemorrhage were the main causes of death within 24 hours after delivery, while pre-eclampsia/eclampsia and sepsis were predominant during the rest of the puerperium. Age and parity are highly important risk factors. Presumed avoidable factors were identified in 19% of the cases. 9% of the deaths were related to unwanted pregnancy.