Maternal optimal health is germane before the initiation of conception. It is important that women of child bearing age pay proper attention to their state of health before being put in the family way.

The ability to procreate validated by the successful fertilization of an ovum by a sperm and the successful implantation on the wall of the uterus always give joy to married individuals.

It is crucial that couples channel their joy to ensuring that the woman receive all the necessary care; so that the pregnancy state does not endanger the life of the woman or that of her foetus. Hence, a need for proper antenatal care.

WHY ANTENATAL CLINIC VISIT?

Antenatal clinic aids the early detection of complications or conditions that may put the mother or the baby’s life in danger.

1. Useful information needed for optimal maternal health during, before and after child birth can be assessed at such clinic visit.

2. Proper medication, vaccination and supplementation are administered at the clinic.

3. Updated information on various child survival principles are discussed at antenatal clinic.

4. Practical demonstration of how to breastfeed correctly among other useful demonstrations is one of the components of antenatal clinic activity.

5. Far above antenatal clinic visit, pregnant women should adhere to the medical advice and recommendations given at the antenatal clinic. Pregnant women should also be free to discuss their challenges or concerns with their health care provider to ensure their safety.

There are several factors that may put the mother or the child at risk:

1. Age of mother at pregnancy: An adolescent body may not be fully mature to cope with the rigour of child birth and having the first pregnancy at 35 years above (Late pregnancy) also has the tendency of endangering the life of the women and her foetus because the woman’s body might have degenerated hence not being able to effectively adjust to the extra-uterine growth and development and unable to cope with the stress of child birth as well.This category of pregnant women should imbibe a good health seeking behaviour and also register with good health facilities for proper specialist care.

2. Maternal nutrition:The foetus feeds from the mother hence an increase in the maternal nutritional need. Pregnant woman should eat rightly following their dietary recommendation and not ignoring their health care providers’ advice and recommendation. A malnourished pregnant woman with no means of being properly nourish may end up giving birth to a malnourished child or experience miscarriage or still birth.

3. Maternal illness/diseases: Pre-existing or pregnancy induced maternal illness or disease such as: diabetes; hypertension, kidney diseases, etc. if not properly cared for, can pose risk to the life of the mother and the child.

4. Anaemia during pregnancy, prolonged labour, post-term delivery, congenital abnormalities, respiratory distress syndrome, meconium aspiration, jaundice, birth trauma and preterm delivery among many others also has the potential of endangering the life of either the mother or the child.

This various factors either:

a. Cause a permanent or partial damage to the new born in utero (while in the womb),

b. Reduce their chances of survival after birth,

c. Cause a permanent or partial damage to the child who survived, which may reduce their chances for increased productivity in later years,

d. Cause maternal morbidity or mortality.

CONCLUSION

For a good pregnancy outcome there is a need to ensure proper care before pregnancy,optimal care during pregnancy and a continuous care after pregnancy for subsequent pregnancy and optimal maternal health. The role of preconception care should not be down sized because it is also a vital tool for good maternal health and good pregnancy outcome. More so, the need for planned pregnancy so as not to endanger the life of the carrier and the life within her.

Good Preconception Care; Good Antenatal Care; Good Post-Natal Care…..Optimal Child and Maternal Health

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