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National Safe Motherhood Day

Apr 11 2018 / Posted in Maternal health

India's maternal health statistics are humbling. While, there has been a huge push from public systems as well as civil society to address critical maternal health outcomes, quality service delivery is still a challenge. Our Maternal & Newborn Health program works across seven municipal corporations to improve referral processes across various health facilities. We also work to strengthen primary care at local clinics as well as with communities, by forming women's groups to facilitate informed action. We are sharing Aruna's story on National Safe Motherhood day and fervently wish for every mother to have access to information and authentic knowledge, just like Aruna did.

Aruna is a 25-year-old woman living in an informal settlement in Mumbai, with her four daughters and her husband. During a regular survey, a SNEHA Community Organiser found that Aruna was in her fourth month of pregnancy. On finding out about her pregnancy, Aruna was keen on aborting the foetus. The Community Organiser (CO) convinced Aruna not to abort the foetus and explained the risks, as she had already completed four months of pregnancy.

Aruna agreed to not go in for an abortion and the CO decided to counsel her on the importance of a healthy diet, on follow up visits as Aruna’s haemoglobin level was low at 9 g/ DL. The CO also advised her to take iron folic acid tablets (IFA) and increase consumption of iron-rich foods such as jaggery and peanuts.

As part of Birth preparedness and complication readiness (BPCR) visits, in the seventh month of Aruna’s pregnancy, the CO counselled Aruna on nutrition during pregnancy and in the post-partum period. She also made Aruna aware of danger signs that could occur during pregnancy and that she would need to seek emergency medical help if she spotted any signs. Importance of breastfeeding was also discussed. Thanks to continual counselling on good nutrition, Aruna’s haemoglobin level increased to 11.3 g/DL.

After completing nine months, Aruna was advised by her doctor to undergo a caesarean-section surgery, due to the presence of meconium. She gave birth to a healthy baby weighing 2.5 kgs. Aruna and her family were overjoyed by the new addition to the family and thanked SNEHA for the support and guidance they received at each step.