'The overall message, for the first time in a generation, is one of persistent and welcome progress' Dr Richard Horton, editor of medical journal The Lancet Background Dr Horton wrote this comment in a study published in the magazine last week. The study showed the number of women dying each year from pregnancy and childbirth has dropped. In 1980, 526,300 women died from it, but in 2008 that number dropped to 342,900. Most experts agree this is good news. Researchers say medical improvements in large countries like India and China helped lower the death rates. But experts for women's health say there is still a lot that can be done.