Maternal and newborn care is an important health topic. Maternal health is the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. This has to be given great amount of concern because over the years, a lot of maternal deaths have been recorded due to some kind of neglect/ignorance of this aspect of health care. In this context though, we would be looking at what safe maternal/newborn care is, its importance and how we can make its practices possible.

Safe motherhood encompasses a series of initiatives, practices, protocols and service delivery guidelines designed to ensure that women receive high quality gynecological, family planning, prenatal, delivery and postpartum care, in order to achieve optimal health for the mother, fetus and infant during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Closely related to safe motherhood is the concept of newborn care. Newborn care and safety are the activities and precautions recommended for new parents or caregivers.

The importance of safe maternal care is mainly to reduce maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality and to improve the maternal and neonatal health through preventive and promotive activities as well as by addressing avoidable factors that cause death during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period. Newborn care is also very important because all newborns require essential newborn care to minimize the risk of illness and maximize their growth and development.

Since it is very important, we have to make sure it is made possible. Here are a few ways we can ensure safe motherhood. First on the list is education on safe motherhood. Expectant mothers as well as their families should be enlightened concerning safe motherhood and its importance. They should be educated on nutrition during and after pregnancy, possible symptoms of complications, personal hygiene, workload, rest and sleep; also, physical examination of height, weight, blood pressure, etc.

Secondly is by prenatal care (care during pregnancy) and counseling. Antenatal care refers to health education and regular medical checkup given to a pregnant woman in order to make the outcome of pregnancy safer, reduce cases of maternal morbidity and mortality through early detection and treatment. During prenatal care, it’ll be possible assess the health of the mother and to obtain baseline information on blood pressure (BP), weight, etc. Also, complications will be detected early and immediate action will be taken to contain it. There are other benefits of prenatal care. This is why early registration should be encouraged.

Also, maternal nutrition should be promoted. The pregnant woman’s diet should provide for the needs of the growing fetus maintenance of the mother’s health, physical strength required during labor and successful lactation.

In addition, Institutional delivery should be encouraged. Institutional delivery is a delivery that takes place at any medical facility staffed by skilled delivery assistance.  Complications can arise at anytime so it is essential for adequate assistance to be made available always.

Postnatal care (care after child birth) should also be taken seriously. Postnatal care (PNC) is the care given to the mother and her newborn baby immediately after the birth and for the first six weeks of life. After delivery a woman has to make both physical and emotional adjustments and she needs support and understanding. Some of the medical disorders during this period are infection of the uterus and surrounding tissues, urinary infection, acute prolapse of the cervix and puerperal psychiatric illness. It is important to diagnose and treat these conditions as early as possible. Some of these may lead to more serious /life threatening complications. Ideally a new mother should visit a health facility for her first postpartum visit, or be visited by a health worker at home, within 7 -10 days of delivery. She should be getting enough rest, eating healthy and advised to bath regularly. As stated earlier, newborn care and safety are the activities and precautions recommended for new parents or caregivers.

During the stay in a hospital or birthing center, clinicians and nurses help with basic baby care. Caring for a newborn also includes the health screening of the newborn, most of the times this occurs in the hospital. Another important newborn care basic is immunization. Young children need vaccines because the diseases they protect against can strike at an early age and can be very dangerous in childhood.

In conclusion, in order to reduce maternal mortality rate and ensure that newborns are strong and healthy, we must make sure safe maternal/newborn care is well practiced.






Written by Virtuous Daniel