Sending hope, not flowers

Death during childbirth is rare in Australia but is still highly prevalent in Pacific nations, as STEVE ROBSON writes.

One of the world's greatest wonders - The Taj Mahal - is a symbol of hope out of despair.

Built by Emperor Shah Jahan after his wife Mumtaz succumbed to blood loss after the birth of their daughter, the palace is a grand monument to grief.

As our understanding of the science of pregnancy has advanced, instances such as this have become rare. 

Most Australian obstetricians will not see a woman die during their entire professional career.

Australia is one of the safest places to give birth.

But if you visit a village school classroom in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and look at the children, it is likely one of those girls will die during pregnancy. 

This scenario should shock you. It shocks me and I have been delivering babies for 25 years.

The reasons pregnant women die across the Pacific are complex.