MAKING YOUR PREGNANCY SAFER.
How do you prepare yourself during your pregnancy period? According to the United Nations Population Fund, each year more than a million women die of pregnancy-related causes. In addition, the United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) notes that annually more than 60 million women suffer acute complications from pregnancy and that nearly a third of these sustain lifelong injuries or infections. In developing countries many women are trapped in a cycle of pregnancies, deliveries, and self-neglect, leaving them worn out and ill. Yes, pregnancy can be harmful-even dangerous. Is there anything a woman can do to make her pregnancy safer?
Preparation during pregnancy:
– Choose your hospital, doctor, or midwife wisely by doing advance research.
– Make regular visits to your doctor or midwife, establishing a trusting, friendly relationship.
– Give careful attention to your health. If possible, take the appropriate vitamins, but avoid medication (even over the-counter products) unless your doctor approves. It is wise to avoid alcohol. “Although the highest risk is to babies whose mothers drink heavily, it is not clear yet whether there is any completely safe level of alcohol during pregnancy.
– If you experience premature labour pains (prior to the 37th week), contact your doctor or maternity ward immediately. Prompt attention may help to prevent a premature delivery and the complications that can result.
– Document personal decisions relating to medical care. For example, many have found it helpful to have a durable power of attorney (DPA) card filled out ahead of time. Find out what is used and legally acceptable in your country.
– After the birth be mindful of your health and that of your baby, especially if the baby came prematurely. Consult the pediatrician right away if you observe any problems.
– Beware of possible environment hazards, such as over-exposure to X-rays and harmful chemicals. Limit use of sprays and other household substance. Do not become overheated because of exposure to excessive temperatures or over exercise. Avoid prolong standing and overexertion. Use proper seat belt positioning.
A successful Delivery:
A woman who takes care of herself during pregnancy will be less prone to complications upon delivery. Naturally, she will have planned whether she prefers to delivery at home or in a hospital. She will also know, to a good degree, what to expect and how to cooperate with skilled midwife or physician. This person, in turn, will know the woman’s informed preferences-where a choice is possible-on such issues as delivery position, episiotomy, and the use of forceps, analgesics, and electronic fetal monitoring. There must be agreement on other issues: to what hospital or clinic will they go if the home delivery becomes complicated? What exactly will be done in case of excess blood loss? Since hemorrhage causes many maternal deaths, blood substitute must be readily available for patients who do not accept transfusions. Also forethought should be given as to what will be done if a cesarean section is required.
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