Pregnancy and Birth are two of the most fascinating and precious moments in life; for all of us. It symbolizes the beginning of our lives on this earth, the beginning of journey as parents and guardians to a baby and the extension of a family legacy. Pregnant Individuals experience many highs and lows, with their close family and friends, during this pivotal time in their life, and these moments are an exceptional part of their health, their Maternal Health.
Maternal Health essentially refers to the overall health of pregnant individuals during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period. This includes physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual health of the pregnant individual. It is so important that we focus and support pregnant individuals during this unique experience in their life, because their health affects their baby’s health.
Every pregnant individual deserves high quality healthcare and a safe and enriching birth experience and post-partum period, but sadly this is not the case. The reality is that Infant Loss and Maternal Deaths are real and pressing issues, in our world today. According to the WHO about 810 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Lack of adequate maternal healthcare in developing countries and lack of access to healthcare in developed countries are a contributor to this reality. There are various difficulties that pregnant individuals face, for instance, you may have heard the term Postpartum Depression before, but what does it really mean? PPD (Postpartum Depression) is a mental health illness that occurs in pregnant individuals following childbirth. Many of the symptoms are like those of Major Depressive Disorder, including feelings of sadness, worry and tiredness, which last for an extended period, months or even years. Postpartum Depression has been a pressing and continuous issue for maternal health in Canada. In a survey conducted in 2018/2019 by Public Health Ontario, about 23% of mothers nationally were experiencing Postpartum Depression.
Another major factor involved in Maternal Health are the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) discriminations in pregnancies. Racial Discrimination has proved to be associated with poor mental health. In fact:
– In Canada, Indigenous women are at an increased risk of preterm birth, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and cesarean section
– Pregnant Indigenous women are also 2 times more likely to die, compared to non-Indigenous women
– Similarly in the United States Pregnant Black Women are 3 times more likely to die typically from high blood pressure, heart conditions, whereas pregnant Indigenous and Hispanic women are 2 times more likely to die, due to extreme bleeding at delivery
The above statistics are a snapshot of the range of issues that must be addressed to improve Maternal Health overall in Canada.
To celebrate the exceptional women in our life on this day, let it be a reminder of how resilient they are and the intense and deep work that must be done in order to ensure the health of every woman is respected and valued.
This has been Guildview Looking Out For You!