'Maternal deaths in Australia 2000-02' is the thirteenth report on women who die during pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal deaths are rare, catastrophic events and require monitoring and investigation. The report is an observational study of maternal deaths based on information provided by the states and territories. It includes information about the women, pregnancy, clinical care and the deaths. Maternal deaths that occurred up to year after the end of the pregnancy are included. Illustrative case summaries highlight key clinical and public health issues that may be causally related to maternal deaths. The report is produced by the AIHW National Perinatal Statistics Unit based at the University of New South Wales and will be particularly useful to maternity service planners and providers, consumers of maternity services, academics, students and those conducting research in maternity care.