According to Unicef, 87% of women get to see a medical professional once during their 9 month pregnancy, however only 59% will receive several appointments. In Africa, this figure drops to 49%. Funding and education are the two biggest issues that surround pregnancy care. Countries look after their own women, but despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, there still isn’t a focus on the bigger picture. Every woman across the globe should have reasonable access to antenatal care – it is a matter of human rights.
Increasing access to pregnancy care
Good pregnancy care is essential if there is a worldwide drive to improve the health of expectant parents. In Canada, 100% of women have access to antenatal care, including two ultrasounds during pregnancy to check the progress and wellbeing of the baby. According to World Bank data however, only 65% of women in Afghanistan and Nigeria receive any form of pregnancy care. This has a devastating effect for women that have any kind of worries or issues with their pregnancy. A lack of support, education and advice comes at a cost that is too high, particularly in developing countries. Resources and funding of course are the biggest issues, but if a worldwide approach was taken, perhaps this access to pregnancy care could be improved. The WHO considers pregnancy care to be a worldwide service that every country should have, and a human rights approach needs to be taken to ensure that expectant mothers get what they need to safely deliver a healthy baby.
Every year, 7 in every 1,000 babies born suffer an injury at birth in Canada and the U.S, however these rates are much higher in Africa. Birth injuries come from a physical or medical trauma. There are many reasons for birth injury, some are difficult to prevent by medical professionals and can occur due to genetic predisposition. However, birth injury lawsuit settlements are often paid when there has been medical negligence. Oxygen deprivation is one of the most common causes of birth injury, leading to conditions like cerebral palsy. Birth injury lawsuits are important, because they hold medical professionals accountable for the mistakes that have happened, highlighting the need to improve maternity services and knowledge, so that childbirth can ultimately become safer for both mother and baby.
Educating the world
The education of medical professionals on the importance of good pregnancy care is paramount. WHO says that every woman has the “right to dignified, respectful healthcare throughout pregnancy and childbirth.” This is the minimum benchmark that should be adhered to in every country. A worldwide education program is the only way to address this, and this means all countries taking responsibility to improve standards. Only then can the figures for birth injury reduce and childbirth will be made safer.
Good pregnancy care shouldn’t just be available in first world countries. This is a worldwide issue that needs to be addressed, so that all expectant parents can deliver a healthy baby, safely and without fear.