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The mother and the unborn child

© UNICEF Philippines
A mother and her newborn at Manila's Fabella hospital.

Giving birth should be about giving life not giving up a life.

TOO MANY MOTHERS ARE DYING

  • 160 women for every 100,000 births die.
  • Roughly over 11 women die every day.
  • 7 out of 10 deaths occur at child birth or within a day after delivery.
  • 4 out of 10 deaths are due to complications and widespread infections
  • For every death, 40 more women get sick.
  • 8 out of 10 births in rural areas are delivered outside a health facility 
     

A Philippine saying goes: “A woman giving birth has her one foot in the grave.” This gloomily illustrates the danger a woman goes through to bring another human into this world.

Maternal mortality offers a litmus test of the status of women, their access to health care and the adequacy of the health care system in responding to their needs. As primary caregivers, mothers are crucial to infant survival and the child’s optimal development. But in order for them to become effective in this role, their rights too have to be addressed.

Women may get pregnant, miscarry, give birth, lactate, and breastfeed. All these take their toll on women’s health, making them more susceptible to illnesses in the long run. Women need to slow down, space births, and eat well.

This indeed has become a vicious cycle. Malnourished pregnant women give birth to underweight infants. Mothers who are iodine-deficient suffer frequent miscarriages, still births, and early infant deaths. Babies who survive will most likely be born deformed and mentally challenged.

Women are crucial to guarding children’s health and nutrition. Ill health in women often translates to not being able to properly take care of the children.

 

 

 

 

Relevant statistics

Maternal mortality rate (adjusted)
160 per 100,000 live births
State of the World’s Children Report
UNICEF, 2009

Pregnant mothers
with at least 4 pre-natal check-up visits
Total 70%
Urban 78%
Rural 62%
Pregnant mothers
with at least 2 tetanus toxoid injections
Total 37%
Urban 37%
Rural 38%
National Demographic & Health Survey
National Statistics Office, 2003


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