Improvements in maternal healthcare services are helping more women survive childbirth. Unfortunately, many women still do not have access to quality maternal healthcare. A recent study by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) indicates that a mother or a child dies every 11 seconds. According to the Pakistan Maternal Mortality Survey (PMMS), the maternal mortality ratio is 186 per 100,000 births. These alarming statistics urge us to address maternal health issues on a priority basis.
Here are 8 ways to improve maternal health in Pakistan.
Regular consultations with an obstetrician play an essential role in maternal health care. Besides checking the blood sugar and blood pressure levels, the doctor also evaluates the baby’s condition and advises medical interventions if the need arises. Without regular checkups, complications and health problems can arise.
A balanced diet during and after pregnancy
A well-balanced diet is essential for the mother’s and child’s nourishment. Traditionally, women are encouraged to eat more during pregnancy. However, they must follow a proper diet plan as suggested by their doctor.
Moderate exercise and routine activities
Doctors advise moderate physical activity during and after pregnancy. However, intense activity or lifting loads could have adverse health effects. However, moderate exercise helps maintain healthy organ functions and mental health.
Mothers must rest and recover as per the doctor’s advice after childbirth before resuming normal activities. Mothers should take maternity leave after the delivery.
Mothers should consult the doctor before taking medications for uterine cramps and perineum lacerations. Doctors may prescribe safe medicines to manage pain without compromising the child’s health.
Managing postpartum mood changes
It is common to experience mood swings, irritability, and insomnia after childbirth. To improve maternal health, the family must function as a unit. Compassion and support from one’s family can help with managing mood swings and anxiety associated with childbirth. It is important to understand that hormonal changes in the body affect mood. Childbirth causes a dramatic decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels. The hormonal imbalance after childbirth can even lead to postpartum depression.
Awareness of family planning
Family planning is an essential aspect of improving maternal health. However, there are also instances where a woman’s health is neglected in attempts to have a male child. Better awareness about maternal health can prevent such practices. Accessibility to contraceptives can improve and encourage family planning.
The importance of vitamins and nutrients during pregnancy
Along with a healthy diet, pregnant women also need some vitamins and nutrients for the healthy growth of their babies. Doctors advise pregnant women to add folic acid and Vitamin D to their daily diet. Doing so can help in preventing birth defects. Other important vitamins and nutrients include iodine, iron, and Vitamin C.
Maternal health is a healthcare challenge that should be the primary center of our attention. You can play your part in filling the gaps in Pakistan’s healthcare system by donating to organizations like Transparent Hands. We hold free medical camps where women and children are provided with free consultations by female doctors, supplements, multivitamins, ultrasound scans, and preventive healthcare sessions on women’s health problems. We also provide free C-Sections to deserving women. Donate now