Women die as a result of complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these complications develop during pregnancy. Other complications may exist before pregnancy but are worsened during pregnancy.
The major complications that account for nearly 75 per cent of all maternal deaths are:
1. Severe bleeding mostly after childbirth
2. High blood pressure during pregnancy – pre-eclampisa and eclampsia
3. Infections usually after childbirth
4. Complications from delivery
5. Unsafe abortions
And while all women are at risk of any of the above, it is the women in developing countries who are recorded to be at higher risk mainly due to the fact that they have higher chances of actually being pregnant.
The lifetime risk of maternal death in Kenya is 1 in 160 women will die from maternal cause. Most of these deaths can be prevented, says Dr Fernandes. Changes have to be made where maternal health is concerned. Even though it starts with visiting a health facility as soon as you find out you are pregnant, the medical fraternity too, need to re-learn tips and tricks to curbing the menace that is maternal mortality. From good labour management to keen follow-ups post delivery, everyone needs to be on board to ensure that another woman doesn’t die when giving life.
But as Dr Godfrey Ngayu, a consultant gynaecologist at The Women’s Clinic in Nairobi insists, even these measures won’t be enough unless under-staffing of medical personnel, even in the private sector, is addressed.