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Maternal Health in India: An Issue that Requires Urgent Attention

Maternal health refers to women’s health and wellness at the time of pregnancy, the birth of the child, and during the postnatal period. Under the National Health Mission, several strategic investments have been made in order to upgrade the status of maternal health in India. Maternal health is a significant factor that contributes a lot to the advancement of a nation, and by improving maternal health in India, poverty can also be controlled.

The survival and well-being of mothers are not only restricted to their benefits but also plays a central role in overcoming social and economic challenges on a global level. A child cannot stay healthy and happy in the absence of a healthy and happy mother. Thus, it’s not wrong to say that a child’s health and well-being depend upon the mother’s health up to a great extent. Prenatal & postpartum maternal health is critical to the physical & mental well-being of a mother and contributes to her capability to showcase true love and utmost care to her newborn child at birth as well as post-birth years.

Mothers play a key role in maintaining their children’s health & quality of life, which is why it’s vital to focus on maternal health during pregnancy. Pregnant women must keep their eyes on the development as well as the health-wise progress of their unborn child. Nevertheless, it is crucial for expecting mothers to go for regular prenatal visits not only to ensure child health but their own health also both during & after pregnancy.

Key Indicators of Maternal Health in India

Generally, the measurement of maternal health takes place on two grounds- mortality & morbidity.

Given below are significant indicators of maternal health in India-

Key Indicators of Maternal Health in India
  • Maternal Mortality Ratio- The annual number of maternal deaths during a time frame, per 1, 00,000 live births throughout the same period.
  • Lifetime Risk of Maternal Death- The lifetime risk of maternal death is all about the probability that a 15-year-old girl will die due to multiple complications of pregnancy or even childbirth over her lifetime; it considers both the maternal mortality ratio as well as the total fertility rate. Therefore, in a high-fertility environment, the risk of maternal death increases. It is observed through various reports that the lifetime risk of death will be much higher than in a low-fertility setting. The lifetime risk of maternal death varies from one nation to another.
  • Maternal Near-miss Ratio- The maternal near-miss ratio is concerned with the total number of maternal near-miss cases per 1000 live births.

Facts and Figures Concerning Maternal Mortality

  • In India, the maternal mortality rate has witnessed a significant decline.
  • As per the special bulletin released from the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System on Maternal Mortality in India 2016-2018, in India, the maternal mortality was 130 in 2014-2016 and has reduced to 113 in 2016-2018.
  • Around 94% of maternal deaths occur in low and lower-middle-income nations.
  • Approximately 810 women die every day due to preventable reasons related to childbirth & pregnancy.
  • According to the reports, the north-eastern Indian state of Assam had recorded the highest maternal mortality ratio at 229 deaths taking place per 1, 00,000 women between the time frame of 2015 and 2017. Kerala had recorded the lowest mortality ratio, with 42 fatalities during the pregnancy period.
  • States such as Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh stands with the figure of 197 and 173 respectively. 

 

Maternal Health Issues a Woman come across during Pregnancy 

Given below are the maternal health issues and problems a woman faces during pregnancy- 

Maternal Health Issues a Woman come across during Pregnancy

Urinary Tract infections 

A urinary tract infection is an infection generated by bacteria in the urinary tract.

The symptoms of UTI are mentioned below- 

  • Pressure in the lower belly
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Back pain 
  • Nausea 
  • An urge to visit the bathroom several times
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Foul-smelling urine 

Consulting a doctor becomes mandatory if you think your symptoms match the above-mentioned symptoms. By testing a sample of urine, the doctor will be able to tell you whether you have a UTI or not. Treatment via antibiotics would turn out to be effective.

Hypertension

Chronic high blood pressure before and during pregnancy takes a major toll on the pregnant woman’s health and her baby. Maternal complications such as placental abruption, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia are likely to harm women. Thus, one needs to follow proper healthcare guidelines and avoid certain dishes that may trigger hypertension. The risk for poor birth outcomes may get avoided by taking proper care of maternal health in India during the pregnancy period.

Obesity and Weight Gain

Obesity during the pregnancy period is related to the increased usage of health care & physician services, and longer hospital stays for delivery. Obese and overweight women who reduce their weight before pregnancy are anticipated to have healthier pregnancies. Pregnancy complications such as GDM, preeclampsia, and stillbirth may become a hurdle in the path of proper and timely delivery.

Mental Health Conditions

Some women enter into the phase of depression during or after pregnancy.

The symptoms of depression are showcased below-

  • Persistent feeling of sadness
  • Excessive crying
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in activities
  • A sense of discontentment
  • Mood swings
  • Social Isolation
  • Lack of concentration
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Unexpected weight gain or weight loss
  • Excessive hunger

Depression that persists during the period of pregnancy can make things problematic for a woman, and thus, she will face difficulty in taking care of herself & her unborn baby. Moving into the depression zone before the pregnancy period is a risk factor for postpartum depression.

Other Infections

During pregnancy, your baby is being protected from several illnesses, such as the common cold or a passing stomach bug. However, some infections maybe turn out to be harmful to you, your baby, or both. Easy steps like hand washing and eliminating certain foods can offer protection to you against some infections. In some of the infections, you won’t even feel sick. If you feel you might have an infection or believe that you are at risk, consult your doctor.

Issues Related to Maternal Health in India: Indirect Causes

The various indirect causes due to which maternal health issues exist in India are-

Issues Related to Maternal Health in India: Indirect Causes

Lack of Maternal Education

In a progressing nation like India still, a major chunk of the female population is unaware of the knowledge concerning maternal health. Even they are unaware of the information regarding birth control, reproduction, fertility, and sex-related facts. As they are not aware of such things, they face difficulty in taking care of themselves. They fail to meet the requirements of their respective bodies, and thus, problems and complications arise.

Those women who are well-versed with the concepts of fertility, maternal health in India, reproduction, and fertility can proceed ahead with the right choices for themselves. In order to bring a reduction in the cases of maternal mortality, increasing the accessibility of information on these topics has become the need of the hour. Also, it’s important for parents to educate their daughters about the various topics related to maternal health and sex education.

Lack of Sound Healthcare Facilities  

  • The inadequate healthcare system and lack of healthcare facilities in most of the regions have elevated the number of maternal mortality cases in India. 
  • In the rural and semi-urban regions of India, most women fail to reach the hospital on time due to the worst traffic congestion and lost their lives on the way. 
  • In some cases, women reach the hospital on time, but due to negligence and lack of care, they are deprived of the immediate treatment that eventually leads to their death and thereby, increasing the figures of maternal mortality rates. 
  • Lack of equipment and efficient personnel have deteriorated the state of hospitals. 
  • Delivery of effective healthcare facilities and at the right time would yield better outcomes for the women during pregnancy or post-pregnancy. 
  • Prevention, as well as control of maternal mortality cases, depends a lot on the healthcare services. 
  • Thus, strengthening healthcare infrastructure in every possible way would act as a life savior for many lives in the forthcoming period.
  • Health activist associated with Hindrise Foundation is taking active steps in the direction of transforming the healthcare sector. 

Lack of Pregnancy Care

  • Effective and regular care before and during childbirth would restrict the complications to take place. Implementation of proper healthcare strategies would lead to a safe birth. Ignoring the basic healthcare requirements during the delivery period may lead to serious complications.
  • Consumption of healthy foods is essential for pregnant women.
  • Including prenatal vitamin in your daily diet regime would help you and your baby to get a sufficient amount of significant nutrients.
  • Staying active during the days of pregnancy would yield good outcomes on the health front.
  • Taking ample sleep and maintaining the habit of sleeping on the left side would help in improving the blood flow.
  • Lack of prenatal care is one of the major indirect causes. 

Lack of Cleanliness Concerning Maternal Health in India

  • Lack of cleanliness and hygiene factor can affect maternal health in India in an adverse way.
  • Most people fail to follow personal hygiene exercises, and here lies the problem.
  • Avoiding cleanliness at any cost would create problems for pregnant women, and thus, strict rules should be devised concerning cleanliness.
  • Hand washing on a regular basis, a clean area during prenatal check-ups, & a hygienic delivery region during childbirth would help in the prevention of infection.

Lack of Postpartum Checkups

  • Lack of postpartum checkups may lead to infection or abnormal bleeding.
  • Neither a major chunk of women know much about the importance of postpartum checkups, nor most of the hospital authorities paying much attention to it.
  • Getting life-saving antibiotics in case of urgent requirement can save the lives of women.
  • All the hospitals should think of giving the utmost focus on postpartum checkups.

How to Save Women’s Lives and Boost Maternal Health in India?

  • Maternal deaths are preventable if proper healthcare solutions are utilized to prevent or break the shackles of complications.
  • All women must get high-quality healthcare facilities during the pregnancy period and after childbirth.
  • There is a deep connection between the health of a child and maternal health in India.
  • If all births will be attended and would take place under the supervision of skilled healthcare professionals, then there will be negligible chances of mistakes.
  • Timely management and effective treatment would save many lives. Improvement in maternal health in India has become one of the major requirements in recent time, especially after looking at the figures of increased mortality rates after the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Matching global standards is important in every possible way to save women’s lives.
  • All the major health organizations should ensure accountability in order to enhance the quality of healthcare facilities.
  • In addition to this, the demand of the time is to address various causes of maternal mortality and related disabilities and making strategies to overcome the problems via a wide range of effective solutions.
  • Also, the government has introduced several schemes to support maternal health in India, and with the government interference in different ways, issues related to maternal health in India would get sorted up to a great extent.

Role of Hindrise Foundation

At Hindrise Foundation, we are extending our all-time support in uplifting the status of maternal health in India through awareness camps and healthcare programmes. We believe that our efforts with a blend of successful implementation of government initiatives would bring fruitful outcomes concerning maternal health in India. Besides this, we also organize blood camps and periodic medical checkups for the folks free of cost. Outcomes would be better if people would come forward to playing their role in the betterment and upliftment of society.

Summing Up

Maternal health in India is a matter of concern that demands everyone’s attention. In recent time, the government is also cautious towards the health of pregnant women, and thus, various schemes have been introduced. At Hindrise Foundation, we are well aware of our responsibilities, and we are moving mountains to fulfil our responsibilities and write a better script for a more blissful India.