Dilemma: Why And Who Recommends Pregnant Women To See Their Health Providers Quite Often

The World Health Organization or WHO, for short, updated the guidelines on antenatal care. WHO recommended that women in pregnancy should visit their health providers twice as much than the average or sixteen times.

According to a Reuters article, the number of times pregnant women visit their health provider for antenatal care corresponds inversely to the probability of stillbirths. More visits to the health provider mean less chance of stillbirths, with eight fewer perinatal deaths than the regular, out of 1000 births. But, fewer visits to the health provider means a higher probability of stillbirths as well as pregnancy-related complications or even death of the baby and the mother. And, just last year, up to 303,000 women died from pregnancy-related complications and problems, as much as 2.7 million kids were killed in the first 28 days of their life because of the difficulties or problems the mother had, and 2.6 million of those 2.7 million children that died were stillborn.

But according to a WHO article, the majority of all babies that die each year can be saved using low-tech and low-cost care. Of the 303,300 women that died, only 64 percent of them visited their health provider four or more times during their pregnancy. Because of this, WHO decided to reconsider the recommended number of visits to a health provider a pregnant woman should do.

Anthony Costello, WHO's head of maternal health, said that contacts between pregnant women and their health providers will be more in quantity and will improve in quality, and that these contacts will be aimed to the implementation of preventive measures, to the timely detection of risks, to reduce complications during pregnancy and in birth, and to deal with health inequalities.

The newly revised WHO guidelines on antenatal care now include 49 recommendations regarding the food that should be eaten or should not eat, physical activities that should be done or should not do, malaria, tobacco, blood tests, tetanus vaccinations, and use of ultrasound. The guidelines also include advice on nausea, back pain, and constipation.

The recommendations in the guidelines also include the daily consumption of 30-60 milligrams of iron supplements and 0.4 mg folic acid during pregnancy.

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