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Pregnancy a strain on most Indian women

Friday - February 1, 2019 8:58 pm , Category : WTN SPECIAL

WTN: Motherhood is a blessing but the pain of pregnancy to reach motherhood is murderous. In a country where more than half the women are anemic by default, childbirth is no less than a miraculous achievement.

Never mind, those lakhs of unfortunate children who die before the age of five due to malnutrition, disease and negligence, those who survive and grow in the squalor and uncertainty, must be lauded for their extraordinary stamina and good luck. Despite all the stress on women’s empowerment and many achievements in social and economic spheres, if there is one single detrimental factor that is debilitating women, it is nutrition.

General Indian middle class food habits never lay much stress on nutrition. And the women are the worst sufferers. After serving food to all the members of the family, whatever is left goes into the plate of the mother. A chapatti or two and a bowl of some pulse, or may be a helping of a spoonful of some spicy curry makes the diet of an average Indian woman. Pitiably insufficient for an adult after all the back-breaking work she does in the home and the world.

This deficiency is passed on to the child, and thus the progenies of malnourished generations continue. Where affordability is the guiding principle, no wonder half of our children are underweight and terribly famished by global standards. They are puny, stunted, anemic and dead-brained. And again, for socio-cultural reasons, the girl child is the worst sufferer. If the home affords an apple, in nine out of ten cases, the fruit will go to the boy of the family rather than the girl. Unless we gastronomically replenish and empower our women, a healthy nation will always be a chimera and no nation can prosper if its people are not healthy.

Maternal deaths during childbirth is rampant in our country, the percentage of institutional deliveries is miniscule, post-pregnancy care is minimal, the mother, just a child-bearing machine, has little access to healthy food like fruits and grains and vegetables and milk in adequate measure. Adequate rest, before and after maternity and sufficient availability of good food are essential criterion for healthy motherhood. But in most cases, these are not adhered to. Even if rest is ensured, food is utterly neglected and even urban middle and upper middle class educated gentry is oblivious of the fact that the women of the family might be suffering from various deficiencies. When the time comes for childbirth it is often found that the expectant mother lacks in various vital parameters that renders her effort a risky and uncertain venture, jeopardising the health of both the mother and the baby.

Most women are found underweight, low on hemoglobin count and a worrisome blood pressure at the time when they conceive. Some pep up their intake in panic, gain weight and sustain. But there are many, who due to lack of resources or neglect cannot.  And they perish. Does anyone care?
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