A prospective study was carried out in villages around health centers, which were distributed over 10 regencies in Timor island of East Nusa Tenggara province. All deaths occurring in 1986 were recorded and reported to the health centers. Each case was investigated by the health center doctor to identify the multiple causes of death as well as its related factors. Pregnancy and delivery histories of maternal deaths were analysed. In the study area, the maternal mortality ratio was found to be 1346 per 100,000 live births, and the maternal mortality rate was 101 per 100,000 women aged 15-49 years. The maternal mortality ratio, among women under 20 years of age, was 3390 per 100,000 live births; and 4545 per 100,000 live births among women aged 40 years and over. The predominant factor as a risk of maternal deaths was attributable to delivery assistance by non medical personnel, which was 71%. Maternal deaths attributable to the first parities was 40%, and to pregnancies without antenatal care was 20.1%}. The most prevalent disease causing maternal deaths were haemorrhage 46.2%}, postpartum infections 30.8% and retained placenta 30.8%. To reduce maternal mortality, the most important intervention is to provide qualified delivery assistants especially for the first parities, and the provision of accessible delivery centers for emergency cases in addition to provision of appropriate antenatal care for early detection of high risk pregnancies. Family planning programs will have to be more specified towards high risk groups, i.e women aged under 20 years or 35 years and over, as well as women of high parity. A similar study is recommended to be conducted throughout the other parts of East Nusa Tenggara islands in order to evaluate the general maternal health status of the province.