Poor dietary practices during pregnancy can result in increased rates of stillbirths, premature birth, low birth weight, maternal and prenatal death. Majority of pregnant women in rural India are deprived of health facilities. Only one-third of pregnant women in rural set-up eat healthy and nutritious food.
A survey–called Jaccha-Baccha (JABS), was conducted where the teams visited the Anganwadis [Rural Child Care Centres] and spoke to the Pregnant and Nursing women, registered at those Anganwadis. According to the survey, only 23% of the nursing women reported that they had been eating more than usual during their pregnancy. The main reason for not eating enough is because many pregnant women feel unwell or have a loss of appetite.
Reasons for ‘The Weigh Down’
*Poor diet—leads to less Weight Gain during pregnancy. Compared with a normal of 13-18 kg for women with low BMI, the average weight gain in women not following a proper diet would barely be 7 kg. Malnourishment continues to hound the poorest despite the many functional schemes at the state and central level. A woman’s diet while pregnant can play an essential role in her reproductive health as well as the health of her unborn child.
*Deprived Healthcare Systems—The Urgent need is to change our rural healthcare system. Pregnant and Nursing Women are severely deprived of quality health care here. Many of them receive some essential services (e.g. tetanus injections and iron tablets) at the local Anganwadi or health centre but get very little beyond the basics. There is an urgent need for a thorough expansion of quality health care, close to homes. Deliveries must be available free of cost to all women in public healthcare centres.
*Economic risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth — add to other arguments for universal maternity entitlements. Denial of Maternity Benefits Under the National Food Security Act 2013 (NFSA), all pregnant women are entitled to maternity benefits unless they already receive benefits as formal-sector employees.
Inference–When women do access care, and the diagnostic facilities are in place, it can still be strenuous to manage complex Health Needs. Evidence‐based procedures and guidelines for the management of women with complications need to be adapted and adopted such that they consider the ‘real-life’ context in which care can be provided.
EKAM Foundation is an organisation that can help the society, [especially the rural set-up], with the healthcare facilities, needed for the underprivileged pregnant mothers and their children. EKAM is fighting against infant and maternal mortality in the rural set up where food intake and access to health infrastructure is not up to the mark.
So, log on to www.ekamoneness.org to learn more about how we can help our society.