Pregnancy can be a wonderful time that sets you up for entering a new chapter of your life, all with your very own mini-me. The mental and physical changes a woman goes through during her pregnancy are immense. It further makes her vulnerable to several diseases. However, rising maternal mortality rates put a damper on this experience and may develop serious consequences on women’s health. One may define maternal mortality as the death of a mother due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
Most maternal deaths are due to easily preventable causes that tear apart entire families and cause an unnecessary loss of life. There can be nothing more tragic than the loss of a mother’s life just when she’s about to enter one of the most beautiful periods of her life. Therefore, it’s vital to understand the underlying causes behind maternal mortality to protect any expecting mothers.
Keep reading below to learn more about the increasing maternal mortality rates globally.
1. Lack of awareness
Lack of awareness is one of the most significant contributors to maternal mortality worldwide. Even women from well-educated, affluent backgrounds may sometimes lack the information necessary to have a safe pregnancy. There are various red flags that, if noticed early, can help prevent maternal mortality and harm to the baby. A bad headache, heavy bleeding, chest pain, or trouble breathing are some common symptoms that need serious consideration. They may experience a buildup of pain eventually, and it’s important to recognize the signs beforehand to prevent long-lasting damage.
Healthcare educators and policymakers can play a vital role in lowering maternal mortality rates. They can educate women about the signs they need to watch out for in case of complications to prevent any damage. A general studies degree online can prepare you to act as a healthcare educator and improve women’s lives in a non-clinical setting.
2. Inequality in healthcare systems
One of the biggest causes that influence maternal mortality rates is inequality in healthcare systems globally. This inequality significantly impacts the quality and duration of care that expecting mothers receive. Generally, women who are able to afford healthcare facilities receive the best and the timeliest care and have a much greater chance of receiving adequate healthcare. Conversely, those who are financially deprived often have their pregnancy-related concerns dismissed or handled too late, which leads to complications.
Such women are more predisposed to other diseases such as developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. They often have these issues remain untreated due to various underlying reasons, which significantly increases the risk for maternal mortality. There are various dimensions of inequality that influence maternal mortality. Women from poorer backgrounds may not have enough nutrition in their diet to nourish both mother and child properly. Furthermore, they may live in an unsanitary environment that increases their chances to contract diseases. Another reason could be the lack of healthcare information.
Socioeconomically restricted women often face various other injustices that can influence maternal mortality, such as child marriage, forced labor, and other forms of exploitation. Not only does this inequality bring immense harm to mothers, but it can cause stillbirth or deformities in children.
3. Cultural influences
Culture has a strong influence on health care. It significantly affects individual perceptions and beliefs related to illness, treatment, causes of diseases, the way people express their illness and pain, their approaches to health promotion, etc. Various cultural influences play a vital role in the increasingly high rate of maternal deaths. Some cultures don’t encourage women to step out of the home and seek the help they need, even when it can put their child’s life at stake.
Traditional birth attendants often have limited knowledge of handling complications during birth and don’t have the tools they need. They can be ill-equipped to address issues such as hemorrhages, breech deliveries, and more. They may also resort to spiritual healers instead of licensed practitioners, which can severely impact their health. There may also be an aversion to medicine and mistrust of medical practitioners, leading to delays in care. Widespread educational programs which take onboard cultural and spiritual leaders are the only way to address such issues.
4. Chronic Health Issues
With the rise in the expansion of diseases, more and more mothers are affected due to chronic health conditions. Lack of healthy diet intake, use of alcohol, lack of exercise, stress, etc., are some of the major causes behind the development of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. These are some prominent risk factors that lead to a complicated pregnancy. Studies show that many pregnant women in the United States suffer from chronic health conditions, specifically diabetes, hypertension, chronic heart diseases, etc. It further increases the risk of miscarriages and may also affect the health of the child.
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in a woman’s life, but it is equally precarious. Women deserve the opportunity to have access to the best quality care as they go through this period, to make the road ahead as smooth as possible for the baby and the mother. It’s imperative to prevent any new mothers from losing their lives in fear, vain, or due to excessive pain.