Risks of delivery: mother-infant death (Spain)
Even today, at a world level, the period around delivery represents 44% of foetal deaths, 73% of neonate deaths and 61% of maternal deaths.
Mortality of Spanish queens and princesses was very high, partly due to the need to secure a male heir, which involved many pregnancies one after another to compensate the high rate of infant death. The children were usually breastfed by a wet nurse, so that ovulation recovered quickly and faster pregnancies were possible after each delivery. Isabel of Portugal died aged 36 during the birth of her fifth child who also died. Her widow, Charles I had the commemoration made.
The risk of maternal death also increased due to the youth of many women when they started reproducing and to the techniques of some doctors, who, for example, used leeches to bleed them after delivery.
Photo, Ángel Martínez.