01 April 2010
By Divya A
New Delhi, India
Anupama, educated, 24 and based in Patna, got pregnant with her first child three years ago. She went to the doctor for regular check–ups; she received the prescribed doses of Tetanus Toxoid injections and multi–vitamins.
Everything seemed fine until the ninth month, when she felt an acute pain and started to bleed. She was taken to hospital. They said massive blood loss indicated a looming emergency. Anupama’s haemoglobin count was low, so her family had to arrange blood donors in a hurry. But everything worked out and despite two weeks of hospitalization, Anupama and her baby are well today.
Not every woman is so lucky. Especially in India, where 80,000 women die every year from pregnancy related causes. Doctors say that’s mostly because Indian women often get pregnant despite being physically unfit to bear a child.
- Only 23.1% mothers in India received iron and folic acid for at least 90 days while pregnant.
- Less than 41% women gave birth in hospital.
- Nearly 60% of poor urban women aged between 15 and 49 are anaemic.
Delhi gynaecologist Sarita Tyagi agrees. She quotes data from the National Family Health Survey III — 56.2% of Indian women suffer from anaemia; 33% women have a body mass index below normal. “And that is why our country accounts for almost 25% of maternal deaths in the world,” Tyagi concludes.
The greatest tragedy though is that it is avoidable. Half the battle is won once feeding daughters is considered as important as feeding sons. Women also need to be educated about the “right age” to conceive and made aware of the importance of nutritional supplements. Finally, they should be encouraged to give birth in hospital.