Irony of “Safe motherhood” in India –
In all societies the family is the central nucleus for people, for their lives, their dreams & their health. A woman in role as mother forms the backbone of the family. Yet 500,000 women continue to die every year in the world from pregnancy & related causes, because societies decide not to invest on women’s lives. Women’s unpaid work in the family & reproduction does not feature in national accounting. The developing country like India, with maternal mortality of nearly 100,000, continue to invest in war (read defense), than on women’ health. This is perhaps glaring example of gender discrimination & worst health scandal of the century.
“A day in the life of an ordinary Indian Village:
|A woman’s day.
Rises first/ kindles the fire/ breast-feeds the baby/ fixes breakfast & dresses the children
Walks 1km to fetch water
Walks 1km back home
Give livestock feed & water/ washes cooking utensils/ washes clothes
Breast-feeds the baby
Sweeps the house & compound
Ponds the rice
Prepare the meal
Breast-feed the baby
Walks 1km to the field with food for husband
Eats with husband
Weeds the field
Breast-feed the baby
Gather firewood on the way home 1km walk
Kindles the fire/ pound maize or rice
Breast feed the baby
Put the house in order
Goes to bed rest
| A man’s day
Rises when breakfast is ready & eats
Walks 1km to work in the field
Works in the field
Eats when wife arrives with food
Rests/ while wife weeds
Works in the field
Walks to village to visit other men & drinks
Walks home & eats
Goes to bed
The woman’s day does not change if she is pregnant. On one of these days she will give birth to another child. There is little spare time to visit a medical center; hospitalization in case of emergency is unthinkable, except as a last resort.
A woman’ day or a man’s day? Unfortunately the woman doesn’t have a choice…
Becoming parent is a major commitment in one’s life. One has to meet challenges as well as receive loads of rewards. All women thinking about getting pregnant want to have the healthiest pregnancy possible along with a healthiest baby. Good health before pregnancy can help you to cope with the stress of pregnancy, labour and birth. Obtaining good health care before pregnancy will help in finding out your risks, treat medical problem if any. So if you are planning to become pregnant, it is a good idea to follow a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to evaluate your health status, so do consult your doctor well in advance.
In this blog, I intend to highlight some of the important issues on this matter:
- Expectant fathers – Please note your health is also important. There are things which can reduce the quantity and quality of the sperms in the semen. Low count can make it difficult to get pregnant and poor quality can produce defective pregnancy. Some habits which are strongly condemned are smoking, tobacco use, steroids, illegal drugs, obesity, heavy alcohol and unhealthy diet/lifestyle. So remember to correct your lifestyle before planning pregnancy for your wife. If there is any genetic problem in the family, the doctor should be consulted.
- Expectant mothers – Your health is of utmost importance. Please remember only a healthy mother can give birth to a healthy child. Pregnancy is a modified physiological process in a women’s life. That means pregnancy is a normal change which involves modification in the mother’s system in order to adapt a growing ‘life’ inside her body. Female body is however unique because it is specially made to adapt to these temporary changes in her whole internal system, provided she is completely healthy to start with prior to pregnancy. Therefore it is of extreme importance that all women should be screened prior to planning pregnancy.
I will be discussing in details about pre-conceptual counseling… read on.
Hello readers! This is my first informative blog article. It was difficult to decide what to write for your inquisitive minds. I thought of writing from the beginning — the “beginning of life” — how a female or male embryo turns into a fetus, to a new born and then to a beautiful human being.
It all starts with a pair of cells, an omnipotent female egg and a trigger male egg. These cells have 22 pairs of chromosomes along with 1 pair of sex chromosome. These sex chromosomes consist of a pair of XX (female) and XY (male). All chromosomes divide into 23 single chromosomes, which pair with the other to form a complete cell. A female egg only has X chromosomes and male sperm can either be X or Y, which decides the sex of the fertilized egg.
All fetuses start out with either an XY or XX set of chromosomes. All fetuses are alike until 6-7 weeks of gestation. In the presence of Y chromosome (i.e. in a male fetus) when the Y chromosome is stimulated, Mullerian ducts are stimulated and testicles begin to develop, elongation of penile tissue commences, and the interior aspects are stimulated to grow. In the absence of Y stimulus, Wolfian ducts are stimulated and female genitalia are developed.
So an early fetus has no intrinsic sex. It has the potential to develop into a male or female depending on what genetic factors it is exposed to.
Isn’t that also true how a child develops other qualities based on the environment?