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Regional differences have always been persistent in the socioeconomic history of Italy, profoundly impacting and shaping the demographic pattern of each region. Maternal mortality, with its strong connections to public health expenditure, midwifery, women's social role, illiteracy and not believing in medical science, and socioeconomic status, is certainly among them.This is why this article aims to shed some light on the regional differences in maternal mortality in Italy between 1887 and 1955, and their role in shaping the overall decline of such a phenomenon. The analysis draws on the official statistics on causes of death. These statistics started to cover the entire national territory from 1887 onward.The study demonstrates that the southern regions of Italy had the lowest levels of maternal mortality, especially at the beginning of the period studied, likely on account of the lower female employment rate in industry compared to northern regions, and the higher propensity of home delivery, which can reduce the risk of puerperal infections, given the very high mortality rates for this cause documented in maternity hospitals before the introduction of antiseptic techniques.

Matteo Manfredini
Marco Breschi
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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