Safe motherhood means ensuring all women receive the care. They need to be safe and healthy throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Motherhood should be a type of expectation and joy for the women of the family and the community. The pandemic calls for special attention to be paid to prevent and minimize the negative consequences of COVID-19 for pregnant women and newborns. Like in India, it is one of the most high-risk places in the world to give birth accounting for around 50% of the total maternal deaths worldwide.
Every year around 44,000 women die in India due to improper care during pregnancy. At Medicircle we present to you the National Safe Motherhood Day awareness series, where we are featuring successful mompreneurs, health care professionals, obstetricians, and gynecologists who also promise of working on safe motherhood to raise awareness about adequate access to care during pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal services.
Dr.Richa Jagtap is the Clinical Director and Consultant Reproductive Medicine at NOVA IVF fertility, which is India's leading chain of fertility centers. She has experience of over a decade in the healthcare industry and the founder member of the Fertility Prevention Society of India. Dr.Richa Jagtap was also awarded a certificate in advanced reproductive endocrinology and quality management in Germany. She has also contributed chapters and articles on fertility-related issues in reputed publications.
Reproductive health for women is a very important aspect of health
Dr.Richa Jagtap says, “If you educate a girl, you educate the entire family and if you take care of the health of a woman, you are taking care of the health of the entire nation. So it's very important that we look at these critical steps that have brought our country a little bit up. We were in a bad time some years back, but we have really improved. I think it starts from the time a child is born, we cannot really be limited to a person who is going to be pregnant. If you start early with good nutrition, healthy teenage life, you can have a good reproductive potential. And then, of course, we will have healthy moms. So it's very important to take care of the child when they are born.
Obesity: We see a lot of kids are now leaning towards obesity, which has become a concern. This causes hormonal disturbance in women and young girls. It predisposes them to have other medical issues when they try to become a mom. So it's very important that they have balanced nutrition.
Anemia: A lot of women still in our country are anemic, and they go around their normal routine lives without ever realizing it, and their bodies get adjusted to it. But when they get pregnant, that's the time the body fails to improve and to carry a load of their own health as well as the baby's health. So it's very important that women are aware of anemia as a problem.
But, by having good nutrition and maintaining good hemoglobin, you can have a healthy reproductive life. Prevention is always better and easier than cure. So if we start right with the nutrition of young girls and expectant mothers, half a job is actually well done.”
Dr.Richa Jagtap informs, “The pre conceptional counseling, examination and health check is very important for a couple. So there is a lot of planning that couples do in the context of monetary issues but the mother’s health is equally important. So pre conceptional counseling is something that is becoming an important and very relevant topic and we are trying to increase awareness of this. The essential criteria for a woman's health for intending mother should be fulfilled before she conceives so that we approach pregnancy in the right manner which is the happiest thing in a woman's life on a sure footing so that the chances of failing are much lesser
Maternal Mortality rate
Dr.Richa Jagtap says, “Government actions and their policies have really made a big change, we have reduced the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) by around 30%. So we are in a much better place. But the main problems are the same. High blood pressure, bleeding during pregnancy, anemia, and sepsis or infection are very important healthcare issues during pregnancy. These are the most feared things in pregnancy which could lead to the mother's health being jeopardized and at times lost also accounts for maternal mortality. And we can try to overcome and prevent some of these issues with better health for girls and mothers to be. By controlling anemia, high blood pressure, predisposition to eclampsia, and infections from the beginning can help in reducing the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR).
Common Ailments in Pregnancy
Dr.Richa Jagtap states, “Pregnancy is a natural event. It is an integral part of women’s life.It is important to check the following parameters in 1 st trimester of pregnancy.
- Thyroid disorders
- Urine Examination
Awareness should be given during the early years to avoid complications during pregnancy. Education is a must and this is evident in highly educated states like Kerala which are having a lower Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). Rural healthcare should be approachable. There should be small rural healthcare centers with trained medical staff to provide basic education to the rural population. We should bridge the gap between the rural areas and urban areas which provide good facilities for women.
Warning Signs during pregnancy
Dr.Richa Jagtap explains, “If a symptom limits your normal day-to-day activities, it is a warning sign for a pregnant woman. You need professional help during pregnancy if you have the following signs:
- Tiredness throughout the day
- Hyperemesis or excessive vomiting
- Gastric disturbances
- Increased appetite
- Increased urinary frequency
- High blood pressure
- Acidity, or heartburn
- Blurred vision
- Unusual feelings during pregnancy
Do not ignore these symptoms if you are pregnant. A trip to your expert doctor and hospital can be worth it.
It is best to plan pregnancy before 37 years of age
Dr.Richa Jagtap informs, “Every woman has a certain number of eggs reserved during their life. The best age for conceiving is 25-35 years of age. After reaching 40 years of age in women, chances of healthy pregnancy reduces with an increase in complications during pregnancy. It's better to think about pregnancy before you cross 37 years of age because the crucial point of the population studies, after 37 years of age, there's a sharp decline in fertility and then things go downhill which is difficult to change. Eggs when finished in a woman's body cannot be repopulated.
Science is limited and cannot compete still with nature. We are still steps behind nature. If we remember this, we would have done the best thing to understand how this goes for women who are trying to conceive. So it's very important to conceive at the right age to conceive when you have good nutrition to conceive when you are in a happy state when you won't have all the things that are essential to make sure that those nine months of your pregnancy are the perfect nine months that you can always look back and say, Oh, I had so much fun in my pregnancy. I had such a great time. It should be that kind of a feeling each and every woman I feel” says Dr.Richa
(Edited by Dr.Rati Parwani)