Safe Motherhood and Child Development: Men's Role

Safe Motherhood and Child Development: Men's Role

Pregnancy-related complications cause one quarter to one half of deaths among women of reproductive age in developing counties. In some countries pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death for reproductive age group of women. Many thousands of women in developing countries suffer serious illness and disabilities, including chronic pelvic pain; pelvic inflammatory disease, incontinence, and infertility, caused by pregnancy or its complications.

WHO defines a maternal death as a death occurring within 42 days after pregnancy, irrespective of the duration or the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management's. Five direct causes - hemorrhage, sepsis, pregnancy-induced hypertension, obstructed labor and complications of unsafe abortion-account for more than 80 per cent of maternal deaths.

Who estimates that 585,000 women die each year from complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and unsafe abortion-about one death every minute. Nearly all of these deaths could be prevented. Ninety-nine per cent of the deaths occur in the developing countries. A women's lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related complications or during child birth is one in 48 in the developing world versus only one in 1800 in the developed world. The risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes is highest in Africa. Because of the much larger population, however, each year the majority of maternal deaths take place in Asia.

Safe motherhood means creating the circumstances within which a woman is enabled to choose whether she will become pregnant, and if she does, ensuring that she receives care for prevention and treatment for pregnancy complications - has access to trained birth assistance - has access to emergency obstetric care if she needs it and receives care after birth so that she can avoid death or disability from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. In fine, safe motherhood means ensuring good health for women and their babies during pregnancy, delivery and in the postpartum period.

Men play many -key roles during women's pregnancy and delivery and after the baby is born. Men can help protect the lives and health of women as they become mothers and can attend to the health of their children.

International campaigner for safe motherhood Professor Mahmud Fathalla, a former President of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1994-97) and now a senior advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation, demands: "Why should mothers continue to die every minute when the world knows how their lives can be saved? The neglected tragedy of maternal mortality is not simply a health problem; it is a human right issue."

Men's Role
As we have said earlier, men play many key roles during women's pregnancy, delivery and after the baby is born. Their decisions and actions often make the difference between illness and health, life and death.

The first step that man can take to promote safe motherhood is to plan their families. Limiting births and spacing them at least two years apart are good for maternal and child health. Every pregnancy carries potential health risks for women. Unintended pregnancies are particularly likely to be risky because they are more likely to end in abortion. Complication of unsafe abortion causes 50,000 to 100,000 deaths in the world each year.

Men can accompany their partners to meet family planning counselors or health workers. They can help their partners in using modern methods correctly - such as reminding them to take their pills regularly and daily. They can use a male method themselves and can encourage their partners to seek help from a health cure provider, if side-effects occur. When his partner becomes pregnant, a man can make sure that she gets proper antenatal care, which may involve transport or money or both. He can also accompany her on the antenatal visits and thereby can learn about the symptoms of pregnancy complications.

Good nutrition and plenty of rest are also important during pregnancy. Men can help having safe pregnancies and healthy babies by ensuring proper nutrition with food strong in iron and fortified with vitamin A. An anaemic women is five times more likely to die of pregnancy- related causes than a women who is not anaemic.

Vitamin A is important to the health of both mother and the foetus. Women need to have enough vitamin. A both to support the healthy development of their babies and to protect their own health, particularly their eyesight and immune system. Antenatal vitamin A supplements, often provided in pill from, can greatly reduce maternal and child deaths.

In developing countries the majority of women deliver their babies without skilled assistance, helped only by untrained traditional birth attendants or family members. Men can help by arranging for a trained attendant to be available for the delivery and by paying for the services and transportation.

Avoiding delay often averts from complications of pregnancy. Three types of delay put mothers' health at risk - delay in deciding to seek care, delay in getting to a health care facility, and delay in receiving adequate care facility.

Men and other family members can play crucial roles in assuring-prompt care. Men can avoid delays by learning the symptoms of imminent delivery and of delivery complications.

Most maternal deaths occur within three the days after delivery, due to infection or haemorrhaae, a new research suggests. To prevent deaths, men can learn about potential postpartum complications and be ready to seek help if they occur: Men also can make sure that women get good nutritional food while they are breast-feeding.

Submitted By
Dr. Maswoodur Rahman Prince

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