Greater awareness about pregnancy can reduce maternal, infant mortality

Runa Akhter, 20, is going to become a mother for the second time. She is pregnant for six months. Her blood pressure is high and she has gained weight. She looks feeble and cannot move normally.

Runa, wife of Liton Mina, hails from Farakkahbad area under Sadar upazila of Chandpur district.

"My wife has been suffering from pregnancy related complications since she conceived for the second time. She also experienced the same problems during her first pregnancy and there were delivery periods, too. Thanks to Almighty Allah, she has survived following prompt medical intervention," said Liton.

It is not merely a problem for Runa, rather it is common for pregnant women in Bangladesh. Therefore, it is urgent to know about pregnancy related complications to save both the mother and child.

Bleeding profusely, high fever, edema (swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in body), spasm, nausea, headache, pain for over 12 hours and delivery of baby with its head inside are all alarming for a pregnant mother.

Dr. Hasrat Jahan, associate professor of Gynecology Department at the Matuail Institute of Child and Mother Health in Kadamtali area of the capital city said "Pregnancy period of a woman is very different . At that time they have to bear two bodies in one and the delivery process is also somewhat difficult".

"Currently maternal and infant mortality in the country has fallen in a big way but the current figures also remain alarming. A pregnant mother needs extra care. Nutrition of both mother and baby has to be ensured. In case of any pregnancy related complication, the child bearing mother has to immediately rush to a nearby hospital or a local health complex," she said.

"Besides, vaccinations for pregnant mothers, measuring their weight, imparting health related education, examining their blood level and blood pressure, diagnosing other health problems and regular health checkups to keep updates of their health are urgent to avoid any untoward situation at that time," she observed.

It is great news that over the last 25 years, maternal mortality in Bangladesh has reduced 69 percent. It got special emphasis in World Report on "Trends in maternal mortality: 1990-2010" jointly prepared by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank (WB).

A lot of care has to be taken when one is pregnant, especially in terms of diet and nutrition. Along with the regular dose of vitamin and health supplements, one should try to have nutritious, wholesome and balanced diet.

Moreover, before pregnancy, an adolescent woman must know about her health condition, pregnancy related matters and childcare methods as only a sound mother can give birth to a sound baby. A pregnant mother needs extra care and it can further reduce the current maternal mortality rate in the country.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)