As your little baby lies in your arms, contented and healthy, you stare down at him or her and thank all the stars in the universe the birth procedure went well. You look over at your hubby and he is just aglow with pride and happiness. Like you, and many others, this type of scene happens millions of times every year. Nonetheless, there is another scene that is full of trauma and tears.
As a previous daycare owner, and curriculum coordinator for the state of Delaware, I constantly learned new and eye-opening information to share with licensed daycare providers, and their parents concerning the welfare of mothers and their babies. It is scary to know that according the United Nations Population Fund, "one woman dies nearly every minute, which is 536,000 a year, because of problems associated with pregnancy." If you have had one child, or dozen, or just pregnant with your first, you can learn about the causes of childbirth issues, and prevent them by seeking quality care to reduce tragedy in the labor room.
Causes of Childbirth Troubles: The lack of good care during pregnancy
According to Dr. Cheung Kam-lau, a pediatrician from the neonatal care unit of Prince of Wales Hospital located in Hong Kong, "going out with no prenatal care can put pregnancies at high risk." It is unrealistic to think that babies born without proper care during pregnancy will be chubby and happy. It is not to say that it cannot happen, but why put oneself in danger?
During one of my crazy incidents in my center, I had a very young mom drop off her son in my care and sadly confirm to me she was pregnant again. With encouragement, I gently reminded her about a few good doctors in my area, and asked her how far along she was. She answered, "five months." Shocked, I slightly giggled and said, "Oh - well you probably already found a doctor. Who are you going to?" The mother stated in a matter of fact tone that she hasn't seen anyone yet.
Regarding the problems that can affect mothers, the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association stated, "the major direct causes of maternal mortality is excessive bleeding, infection, high blood pressure, and obstructed labor." This knowledge is extremely helpful because it informs moms to make sure that they have care readily available.
Unfortunately though, the lack of knowledge and the laxity in prenatal care in the part of the mothers is all too common. What are some of the reasons that mother's neglect proper care for themselves and their unborn child?
- · Perhaps the traveling distance is too far
- · The cost of medical expenses is too high
- · The country she lives in does not offer medical attention
- · Or…She just is plain lazy!
Though there may be some lands that offer no medical care, it does not mean that the mother cannot provide herself with a proper diet and nutrition during pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) "found that women who visited their doctors only four times during their pregnancy enjoy the same results that a woman who visited 12 or more visits." This does not mean to skip your doctor appointments, but simply some prenatal care is better than none!
What Doctors May Do Checkups
With all of my children, I looked forward to my doctors' appointments to have my belly measured, but certainly didn't look forward to the weight I probably gained! However, doctor appointments are important. In order to reduce risk during pregnancy, a health-care professional who specializes in obstetrics may take the following steps:
- 1. A nurse will come in and check your weight and your blood pressure. Afterword's she or he will sit your medical records near the door slot.
- 2. A doctor will examine the records to determine if there is a risk that may be involved with the mother or her developing baby.
- 3. Blood and urine samples may be checked for problems like anemia, infection, disease, and Rh incompatibility. Later on you may be checked for diabetes, sexual transmitted diseases (STD), kidneys disease, and rubella.
- 4. Vaccinations may be recommended which include influenza, Rh compatibility, and tetanus.
- 5. Vitamins are always' recommended, and usually an extra dose of folic acid to promote brain health and development.
After potential hazards are evaluated, the doctors will offer advice or precautions to help the mother so the prospects of a good outcome for her and her unborn baby are positive.
Minimizing Risks during Childbirth
"The most dangerous time for a pregnant woman is the critical periods around labor and deliver," says Joy Phumaphi, a former assistant director general for Family and Community Health at WHO. There are ways to prevent serious problems, even life threatening ones, but they have to be taken in advance. For instance the doctor will consider a number of questions that may participate in labor difficulty.
- 1. Did the patient's prenatal visits reveal any health problems that may need attention?
- 2. Does the prospective mother need to be off her feet?
- 3. Should she get more rest?
- 4. Would it be wise for her to gain or lose weight or get more exercise?
- 5. Does she need to give more attention to bodily hygiene, including oral hygiene?
It is important to remember that even the most scheduled and organized delivery can have complications. I must say my friends that sometimes you can take all the prevention techniques in the world, and something may go wrong! Do not blame yourself. Two out of four of my children suffered a near death experience, and my heart broke each time. Therefore, I used as much time and energy as I could to gather information and share it with my fellow daycare providers, so they may inform the mothers in their center. My daughter, who I was in labor for 38 hours, was born with an emergency C-section. She is now 12 years old and she is completely healthy. Yet, my oldest son, who was a scheduled C-section, had a hole in not one lung, but both lungs and I was unable to hold my little boy for close to two months!
It is interesting that studies have shown that gum disease in pregnant woman is associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia, a really serious complication that is characterized by a sudden rise in blood pressure, severe headaches, and edema. Preeclampsia can lead to premature delivery and is a leading cause of fetal and maternal death, especially in developing countries.
Some thoughts to remember is that a good doctor will give full attention to any sign of infection in a mother. Thus, if she has premature labor pains, he or she will recommend prompt hospitalization, which can be lifesaving. According to Dr. Quazi Monirul Islam, a director at WHO's department of Making Pregnancy Safer, "Women risk death to give life." However, good medical care during pregnancy, at birth, and immediately afterward can prevent complications, and even death.
Most importantly, try to maintain good health. Hey ladies - I do not mean to go on a diet when you are pregnant, but rather be moderate in your habits! After all, if you want a strong baby, you need to do your best to be a healthy mommy!