Maternal mortality down in India; still a long way to go

New Delhi, XX June 2018: In India, more women are now delivering babies in hospitals, which has brought down the number of women dying die during childbirth in the country. As per recently released data by the office of the Registrar General of India, the maternal mortality rate (MMR) declined to 130 in 2014/16 from 167 in 2011/13.
MMR is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The causes range from excessive blood loss (post-partum hemorrhage) to infections, primarily because women do not give birth in a hospital or health centre. The major cause, post-partum hemorrhage is usually defined as the loss of more than 500-1,000 ml of blood within the first 24 hours following childbirth.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Death during childbirth is very common in the absence of accessibility to adequate and qualipty healthcare. This is truer in case of rural women. Immediate medical attention is crucial to saving lives of women and preventing complications in newborns. Anemia in pregnancy in one of the top causes of maternal mortality in India and an issue that needs urgent action. There are three types of anemia that can develop in a pregnant woman: iron-deficiency, folate deficiency, and Vitamin B 12 deficiency anemia. While it is normal to have mild anemia during pregnancy, more serious symptoms can indicate trouble and should be addressed at the earliest.”
Some of the symptoms of pregnancy-related anemia include pale skin, lips, and nails; tiredness or weakness; dizziness; shortness of breath; rapid heartbeat; and trouble in concentrating. Many of these symptoms are also normal in any pregnancy and only a routine blood test will be able to clarify whether one has anemia.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) was launched last year with the aim to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates by providing comprehensive and quality antenatal care, free of cost, universally to all pregnant women on the 9th of every month leading to safe pregnancies and safe deliveries. The medical profession has been fully supportive of this initiative of the Health Ministry since it was announced, and all doctors are committed to participating in antenatal care and providing voluntary services on the 9th of every month.”
Some tips from HCFI for expectant mothers.
• Eat iron-rich foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dried beans and fortified grains. The form of iron in meat products, called heme, is more easily absorbed than the iron in vegetables. If you are anemic and you ordinarily eat meat, increasing the amount of meat you consume is the easiest way to increase the iron your body receives.
• Eat foods high in folic acid, such as dried beans, dark green leafy vegetables, wheat germ and orange juice.
• Eat foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and fresh, raw vegetables.
• Cook in cast iron pots as this can add up to 80% more iron to your food.
• Take your prenatal multivitamin and mineral pill which contains extra folate.

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