Maximum cases of maternal death in India is from an infectious disease – hepatitis A and hepatitis E – Contribute to make our mothers healthy and strong.
To create a healthy future generation we need healthy mothers. Maternal health plays a major part in it.
There are many reasons such as high fees, poor infrastructure, insufficient medical supplies, lack of awareness and knowledge on maternal health that turns out to be the causes of maternal deaths in India.
But, during the time of pregnancy, even mild infections pose severe risks as the immune system of the mothers is more vulnerable to infections. These infections can be transmitted to the infant through the mother’s blood or placenta even before birth. This puts both the mother and child’s life to risk. Thus, it is important to try and prevent these infections through precautionary measures.
Among all the causes of maternal deaths, infectious disease – hepatitis A and hepatitis E, cause the maximum deaths.
Hepatitis A and E are viral infections that are caused by waterborne pathogen transmitted through fecal – oral route (i.e. ingestion of raw/under-cooked food or fecally contaminated food/water).
Hepatitis A virus infection is rarely dangerous to life in normal circumstances. But in the case of pregnant women, if she is infected in her second or third trimester then it may lead to preterm labor and gestational complications.
While hepatitis E viral infection is deadly. HEV in third trimester with genotype 1 is a major contributor to maternal mortality with up to 15 – 20% mortality rate.
To protect the child and mother health, regular hygienic practices such as water sanitation, washing hands, fruits and vegetables before eating, drinking clean water and avoiding peeled fruits and vegetables, road side or unhygienic food, will help by preventing HAV and HEV.
India being a developing country with poor hygiene and sanitation’s, hepatitis virus infection has turned out to be life threatening. HEV infection also contributes to miscarriage, still birth and infant death.
Though HAV is a transmittable disease, there is no evidence that it would be transmitted through breast feeding. Thus, breastfeeding can be encouraged even if the mother is infected by Hepatitis A virus.
But in the case of HEV, Even though breastfeeding is safe, there still exists a possibility of transmission through lesions on nipples. Thus, breastfeeding is not advisable.
Altogether, it is evident that poor hygiene is the major cause for hepatitis infection and it can be prevented with regular vaccination procedures and maintaining a hygienic lifestyle.