Family planning, prenatal consultations crucial to ensure safe motherhood
Health experts have revealed that family planning and obtaining antenatal care services by pregnant women are essential pillars in ensuring safe motherhood.
In a virtual discussion, Dr Carole Sekimpi, Country Director of Marie Stopes Uganda, explained on Monday;
“Safe motherhood is about ensuring the best possible outcome for women and their children throughout the process of pregnancy and childbirth. “
While that’s what we’d like to see, she says, it’s not always the case. For many women, the journey of pregnancy is like stepping into the unknown.
She noted that although the country has made significant progress in addressing barriers to safe motherhood, there is still work to be done.
The Healthy Newborn Network estimates that every day 15 women in Uganda die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, 94 babies are stillborn and 81 newborns die.
Dr Sekimpi said that through planning, pregnancies occur during the healthiest time, when they are wanted and planned.
She added that by visiting a hospital once a month, a relationship is created between the health care provider and the pregnant woman, and relevant information is shared.
Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr Andrew Chakura reiterated that antenatal care visits and postpartum care are essential to achieve safe motherhood.
“If we take good care of the mother during her prenatal period, during this crucial time of labor and delivery and immediately after childbirth, we always get good results. The problem only arises if there are delays in the mother’s decision to come to the health center; if they are late in accessing the facility due to transportation and related issues, or when there are delays in the facility to implement appropriate interventions, ”he explained .
Dr Chakura added that more precautions should be taken in the most crucial period, 24 hours after childbirth, as both mother and baby are likely to face complications. He said.
“In fact, about 30% of babies will die within the first 24 hours; on the day of birth, then the other 70% will extend up to 7 days after childbirth. “
Likewise, for the mother, he added, most problems will arise immediately after giving birth, including bleeding, which is the biggest killer, high blood pressure, among others.
Experts noted that women with children are at greater risk.
“Every pregnancy carries a risk; whether it is the first pregnancy or not. The risk is all the greater as the number of pregnancies increases. For each pregnancy, mothers should seek antenatal care as soon as they realize they are pregnant from a trained health care provider at least 8 times. During this time, we screen for them and the danger signs are communicated to mothers during prenatal classes, such as swelling of the lower limbs, excessive weight gain during pregnancy, persistent headaches, etc.
Pregnant women have been warned against achieving excess weight.
“Throughout pregnancy, the expected weight gain is around 10 to 12 kg. But if such a weight is gained in 3 months, it is excessive. The mother will need more assessment, ”he said.