Pregnancy is an exciting time for the mother and family in general but occasionally things can go fatally wrong when pregnancy complications are poorly managed. Rita Ohai reports.
I went for my regular check up with my doctor at 36 weeks when I was told that the baby was breeched (baby’s head was not facing the birth canal). Before that, I kept feeling pain in my chest but I felt it would go away because this was not my first baby and my other two children did not give me problems.
“My doctor who owned the private hospital in Ikeja that I was to deliver my child also noticed that my blood pressure had gone up a bit and the upper part of my back was swollen because his head was pushing my ribs out. He did not want to tell me so that I would not panic so he called my husband aside and explained things to him.
“After the doctor tried to turn the baby and my son wasn’t moving like he wanted him to, I just knew something was wrong. A few minutes later, I was moved me to Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where I was monitored.
“Luckily, my doctor knew a few people at LASUTH so they kept a close eye on me. After, five days there, I was induced into labour and Adeoye came out with his legs first (she laughs).
“Till today, at six-years old, he is the most hyper-active of all my children,” says Foluke Ogunrinde who gave birth to her bouncing baby boy on the 6th of January, 2006 .
In similar cases, many low-risk pregnancies have turned into abnormal crisis in a matter of seconds due to sudden unforeseen complications. When these medical hitches arise and are not properly managed, it could be lethal for the mother or the child.
A recent World Health Organisation report states that one third of all maternal deaths globally occur in just two countries. India with about 20 per cent at 56,000 deaths and Nigeria with 40,000 in one year.
According to the United Nations and World Bank statistics at least 144 women die each day in the country during pregnancy or childbirth.
For every woman who dies, other women suffer injury, infection or disease from unnecessary pregnancy related complications, Dr. Eugenia Amachere stated.
“Many women lose their lives during childbirth especially in this country for the flimsiest reasons because medical care is still inadequate. In advanced countries, most of the incidences we deal with here are simply ridiculous to them. For example, there is no sensible reason why a woman who has carried her child to full-term should start developing complications later on in life. There is also no viable reason why injuries and infection rate should be so high aside from the fact that Nigerians have a culture of negligence.
“Sometimes as doctors, we see certain signs to show that there is something wrong somewhere but your hands are tied because there are not enough tools to work with. In other cases where there are bad eggs, the so-called doctors themselves don’t even know what to check for and yet these same people go ahead to set up maternity clinics all over the place and the regulatory bodies do nothing about it. If women must stop dying, the medical practitioners, the government and even the patients would need to start paying adequate attention to this issue,” she concluded.
Blaming the socio-economic differences between rural and urban dwellers as a key factor in infant and maternal deaths, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, has said that the Federal Government has deployed Midwives and community health workers to the rural areas across the country to assist pregnant women in child birth.
While infant and maternal mortality appears to be on the rise, scientists explain that expectant mothers are to take pre and ante-natal check-ups at reputable hospitals seriously. They also claim that women who brush their teeth thoroughly can reduce the risk of suffering dangerous complications in pregnancy and prevent infection in their newborn baby.
Medical researchers found that bacteria from a woman’s mouth could be transferred to her child through blood and amniotic fluid causing potentially serious problems, including premature birth, a low birth weight, and premature contractions as well as infection in the baby.
Further emphasising the need for caution, Dr. Victoria Amah of Maycrest Hospital, Ugbowo, Edo State said, “Sometimes, miscarriages have been found to happen as a result of little things like jumping too hard or standing suddenly. Due to the position of the baby in the tummy, it is advisable for mummy’s-to-be to avoid bending in their backs. If you need to bend to pick up something from the floor, they should go down on their knees. When getting up from the bed also, they will need to turn on one side and then rise slowly because standing suddenly can cause dizziness.”
Amah also advised expectant mothers to eat fresh foods, exercise, take the right dose of iron and calcium supplements and limit folic acid supplements based on the doctor’s advice.
Maintaining a healthy posture is also essential as wearing low-heeled shoes and holding the body upright prevents back injuries.
In preparation for the birth of the child, Pharm. Aisha Shoyonbo, a community pharmacist and grandmother to six children proffered, ‘We should all realise that, no matter how careful we are, every pregnancy faces risk. It is only by God’s grace that a child is born safely. So the family of the pregnant woman and the health care providers must prepare against these risks. The family must save some money before and during pregnancy so that when complications arise, like a caesarean section, immediate help can given without delay due to lack of funds.
Adding, she said, “They should also investigate the background of the doctor and hospital they plan to use. Personally, i believe using the Federal Government hospitals are the best because that is where you will find the best hands who are professors in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.”
SOURCE: Rita Ohai the nation