Introduction This paper analyses the trend of maternal mortality rate in Mexico according to the level of social marginalisation between 1990 and 2008 and identifies socioeconomic factors that better explain the geographical variations of this indicator around 2008.
Methods Maternal mortality rates were calculated by level of municipal social marginalisation during the studied period. In addition, maternal mortality rates by state were calculated in 2008; by a multiple linear regression analysis, the variables that better explain interstate variations in the rate were identified.
Results The results show that in the last 20 years the maternal mortality rate has barely declined in the country (current rate is around 60 by 100 000 live births), and that the ratio between the extreme strata rates—very high vs very low marginalisation -has been increased from 2.7 to 3.4 in the last 10 years. In turn, are social factors linked to poverty and social exclusion (percentage of housings with dirt floor) as well as issues related to health services (per capita public expenditure in health or percentage of population without adequate healthcare) those who better explain the variations in maternal mortality among the states. The found model explains 70% of the interstate variations of the rate.
Conclusion Previously enunciated aspects reveal the role of social conditions in maternal health and especially, in the possibility of avoiding a death from complications of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum and demonstrate the need to change the social environment of women to reduce maternal mortality rate in Mexico.