Ashrafi Sumi, aged about 16 years, became a mother within 17 months of her marriage. She visited physicians for not having milk at her breasts along with other complications as her baby born with underweight is befalling to faint and can’t suck the breasts to feed up.
Sumi said the physician advised her to intake more foods and keep trying to breastfeed her baby as she has nothing to do in this situation.
Such problems arose for becoming a mother at the teenage stage. Adolescent mothers might have faced different complications including life risk of own and her baby if she gets the experience of motherhood at least below 19 years, opined physicians.
“The accurate time of becoming mother is obviously after 18 years and 19-25 years are the perfect time,” said Professor Dr Anwara Begum, former head of gynecology department at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), answering a query for best time of motherhood.
“Although there is no restriction of becoming a mother in between 19 to 35 years, the best time is 21 to 22 years,” she said, suggesting not experiencing pregnancy before 19 years and beyond 35 years to avoid varieties of possible complications.
Professor Anwara said an under aged mother faces two types of problems -one is for her own and another is for her baby, as she was not prepared mentally to become a mother due to age and physical formation.
So, the juvenile mother has the risk of suffering anemia and pre-eclampsia along with other complexities in different stages of life, she added.
In addition, the adolescent mother is also unable to take care of her baby properly alongside her own care due to underage, resulting both of them suffering with malnutrition, said the gynecologist.
She continued “Baby of a juvenile mother born with low weight, in some cases become pre-mature, arise complication or die for delivery time infection and doesn’t get or poorly get breast feeding as well. She went on saying that education, awareness and compliance of law is needed to stop underage marriage and “if there is education, the juvenile would become aware about her and wouldn’t want to marry before 18 years”.
Dr Abul Hossain, director of multi-sectoral programme for preventing women repression under the ministry of women and children affairs, attributed child marriage for different complications including life risk of new born baby and juvenile mother. “We are running necessary endeavors to stop child marriage while government and its different bodies are trying to build awareness regarding negative aspects of becoming mother in under age,” he said.
In addition, the government is also trying to offer more healthcare services to the juvenile mother, added Dr Abul.
Besides, the government is working to set up more teen-friendly healthcare centers across the country to provide treatment to the adolescent mothers alongside carrying out advocacy and awareness building campaign to prevent child marriage and adolescent motherhood.
Dr Sajibur Rahman, manager of adolescent and school health programme of directorate general of health services (DGHS), said “We are arranging special training in different schools to groom up the juvenile so they don’t marry and become mother at under age,”
He said if anyone becomes a mother in adolescent age, she can receive healthcare services at “juvenile friendly health centre” in different government hospitals and healthcare centers.
At present, there are 80 such centers under DGHS across the country while process for another 60 centers is on the way.
Mentioning that the ministry of family planning has few more such centers, Dr Rahman said the country had no such centre previously but introduced it in 2011 which are working with UNICEF maintaining privacy of adolescents.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)