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Delhi witnesses dismal record in new mothers' postnatal care

Delhi witnesses dismal record in new mothers postnatal care

New Delhi: The national capital seems to have a dismal record when it comes to caring for new mothers as more than 37 per cent of them did not receive post-natal care from a doctor, nurse, lady health visitor (LHV), auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), midwife or any other health personnel within two days of delivery.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4) data, 62.3 per cent mothers in Delhi-NCR region receive postnatal care from a doctor, nurse, LHV, ANM, midwife or any other health personnel within two days of delivery. However, the number shows an increase of over 10 per cent of mothers being covered since the last NFHS in 2005-06.

"The inadequate healthcare coverage by trained professionals poses a grave risk to both the mother and the child. The period of two days is very crucial for the mother as almost half of postnatal maternal deaths occur within the first 24 hours. Despite a rise in the number of institutional births, there is a gap to be bridged in terms of providing adequate care to those mothers and children," says Dr Vimal Grover, director of a private hospital.

Poor access to postnatal care is one of the leading reasons for high maternal mortality and infant mortality rates in India. According to the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), a full clinical examination should be done around one hour after birth, when the baby has had her first breastfeed. For home births, the first postnatal contact should be as early as possible within 24 hours of birth. It also prescribes all mothers and babies to undergo at least four postnatal check-ups in the first six weeks.

Postnatal care is an important step in ensuring the health of the mother and the new-born as the early postpartum period is a critical time for the onset of postpartum bleeding or postpartum hemorrhage in the mother. The baby, too, needs to be monitored during this period for respiration, temperature and breastfeeding.

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