A few hours ago I heard the unpalatable news. I was actually outside my house trying to clear up some debris into the dustbin. My neighbor arrived and she had this gloomy face. I had to ask her what was wrong and out came the words that made me jump and exclaim. A friend of hers who was pregnant had just died leaving a baby behind. The cause of death was attributed to bleeding after birth which ended up as a complication. Doctors tried so hard to save her but she didn’t make it. It is so painful to hear what happened to this woman.
While talking with someone else about this case with all of us still beating our chest in empathy and concern out came another case. This time a woman had four boys already and she wanted a baby girl. She ended up becoming pregnant but gave birth to another baby boy. That would have convinced her to give up on the quest for a female child but she didn’t get the chance to make that decision. She would never live to raise her boys. It’s now a case of if only she had just put a full stop.
No woman should die giving birth to another life!!!
When you read about statistics of women who died during or after giving birth what comes to your mind? For example:
According to National Demographic and Health Survey(NDHS) 2013, the maternal mortality ratio is 576 per 100, 000 live births.
Does it seem like just a figure? Remember that number 1 represent one human- a woman- a soul. It’s happening all around us these needless deaths of women at the birth tables.
So here is what you need to know to protect any pregnant woman including yourself.
According to NDHS 64% of births in Nigeria are classified as high risk. The categories of women at risk of things going wrong trying to bring a child into this world fall under this time lines:
1) First timers: Couples preparing to have their first baby must get registered for antenatal early and be monitored through pregnancy. The first story I shared in this post was a first-time pregnancy. And there have been many of such cases due to lack of proper information about how the woman should have managed the pregnancy.
2) Too Early: Pregnancy that occurs in children from 10 – 13years. We call them baby mothers. Imagine your 11-year-old pregnant…? God forbid you will say. So we must protect our girls and stop giving out babies in marriage.
2) Too Young: This is the period before 18years.
Many cases of VesicoVaginal Fistula (VVF) happen with underage girls having babies. This is rather sad and is preventable. As close as of March 2017, Dr. Aliyu Mohammed El – ladan the National Director of Fistular Centre in Kastina said there are about 12, 000 new VVF cases every year in Nigeria. Something to be really concerned about
3) Too close/soon: Getting pregnant when still breastfeeding one baby is stressful and can become a health risk for both mother and baby.
4) Too Many: Frequent births of many children wear a woman out. She becomes prone to a number of health challenges sooner or later in life. That is if she survives it.
5) Too Late: A story is told of a woman who got pregnant when her oldest child was getting ready to graduate from the university. You can imagine how old she was. Sadly she didn’t survive that birth because of complications. This shouldn’t be!!!
Retirement babies are risky: You shouldn’t be nursing a baby when you should be enjoying grandma –hood.
Ways to prevent maternal deaths:
- Know your medical history so you can share with your doctors right early in pregnancy.
- Register for antenatal on time.
- Do all the required tests and routine ones too.
- Eat right and healthy.
- When you are not feeling too good or have concerns speak to your doctors on time. Don’t just take every untested advice from others whose pregnancy experience may not be the same as yours.
- After delivery of your baby don’t forget to keep your postnatal appointment at the hospital.
- Take time to rest in between births by going for family planning.
Plan your babies… Let’s protect our girls; let’s protect our mothers, sisters, friends and neighbors by sharing this information with them.
The life of one mother is precious. Go for family planning today.
Photo Credits: 123Freevectors, Center for Communications Program Nigeria
Adebisi Adetunji (C)