During my time in Farafenni, The Gambia in 2018, every Gambian woman I had supported through labor had experienced a preventable pregnancy complication. Many had undergone surgery because both the mother and baby’s life were at stake.
The majority of pregnancy complications are PREVENTABLE. There is a need to raise awareness and access to comprehensive prenatal care so women around the globe can be literate of their health, have autonomy during their pregnancy and safe delivery.
Here are some of the major preventable pregnancy complications that are affecting women and infants every day.
When an infant is born before 37 weeks, the infant may develop serious health complications. Preterm labor is the most common cause of infant death. In Minnesota, 1 in 11 babies were born preterm in 2018!
Hypertension may be exacerbated during pregnancy, which puts both the mother and baby’s health at risk. Access to antenatal care can diagnose pre-existing hypertension factors and provide the necessary treatment to keep it under control during pregnancy.
Pre-eclampsia is a serious complication that can lead to death. Pre-eclampsia is related to high blood pressure. When a mother’s blood pressure is high, the blood supply to the fetus is reduced, which also means a reduction in oxygen and nutrient supply to the fetus. If left untreated, the mother may experience seizures or develop a coma.
This occurs when a woman who didn't have diabetes before pregnancy develops the condition during pregnancy. Managing gestational diabetes requires a plan that protects the mother and baby from developing other complications such as hypertension and pre-eclampsia.
That is why access to prenatal care is vital to the survival of the mother and baby.
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