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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Preventing Maternal/Infant Mortality through Nutritional Healthcare and Wholesome Living

Just a week ago I read this pathetic story and I felt so disturbed and promised myself I would do this article. It is a sorry story of a woman, neglect, and a hospital and its obstetrics delivery services - one that is everything bereft of the cherished ethics of medical practice. And as to be expected, a huge outcry has been generated by the tragic incident that took place and it has again brought to the fore the recurrent decimal which is maternal/infant mortality in our clime, and Nigeria to be precise.


Intervention medicine Vs Preventive healthcare

But intervention healthcare as I will like to put it, is most useful for emergencies while nutritional health is more focused on prevention and therefore largely better than the curative or intervention approach. Hence we should by all means try to stem the tide of reckless and preventable deaths of our women as a result of childbirth by thoroughly embracing natural living and nutritional healthcare as a way of life. 

The preventable death of Dolapo

The neglect and shabby treatment that was meted out to a young lady by the medical team and staff of a supposedly renowned private hospital in Lagos has greatly revealed the sordid reality and inadequacies of modern maternal healthcare delivery and, or the lack of it. Meanwhile, medical research scientists have identified a number of issues leading to specific recurrent errors that account for a disproportionate share of maternal deaths, and these are primarily related to pulmonary embolism, severe preeclampsia, cardiac disease, and postpartum haemorrhage. These are the real problems which bother on long term choices of lifestyle and I dare say - nutritional behaviour.

Dolapo had gone to have her baby, being her third, at this uptown high brow hospital, but she developed complications which quickly led to her untimely death by noon on the following day. This certainly is one devastating episode too many; one that should make us take another critical look at the need to focus again on natural health and birth, for the purpose of achieving a better improved maternal and infant health delivery in our population.

Denatured foods and unwholesome living is killing us

There is no doubt that so much of unnatural ways of modern lifestyle of today’s generation which includes of course, modern medical health delivery and poverty, have been largely responsible for bringing us to this horrific crossroad. I believe strongly that we should seriously go back to nature and by implication – natural birth. Natural lifestyle also includes the fact that we ought to prepare our system for the future by fortifying and preparing it for what is to come by wholly adopting nutritional habits that go back to what I may call an Eden style pattern of life.

It is interesting and instructive to note here that scientists, researchers and herbalists are beginning to collaborate in taking a second look at what nature has to provide in herbs and nutrition. In Nigeria, as it is all over the world, there are plants and herbs that are clearly cut out to provide the needed natural nutrients and remedies for tip-top mother/foetus stability. For instance, African basil and Bitter leaves are just a few of the very potent herbs among so many, that nature has fashioned out for conditioning the womb as well as aiding pregnancy and easing childbirth.

Thus we must begin to see the spate of maternal and even infant mortality as completely unacceptable; it should no longer be considered as a way of life because from the very beginning it was never so. I strongly want to posit that the current wave of artificially assisted births, including Caesarian section, unnecessary complications after delivery, and mother dying in the labour theatre either in the process of delivery or after, are all negative fall-outs of our modern day sophistication and loss of harmony with nature

The use of herbs in pregnancy

In Nigeria for example, African basil and Bitter leaves are often used as additives to broths or as vegetables in soups. This is healthy because research also found that they are also eaten this way by some people specifically during pregnancy in order to promote easy progression, strengthen or tone the womb muscle and prevent complications such as pain, bleeding, and abortion. Again, by the time the woman goes into labour, these two leaves are usually administered as squeezed leaves or aqueous extracts in their fresh forms.

Pregnant African woman

Dietary choices and nature of births

Our turning to a new line of unwholesome diets – artificial unearthly beverages especially fizzy drinks, denatured foods, and a general lack of ‘exercise’, have led in no small measures in contributing to this health scourge that has bedeviled modern or so called civilised societies. There is no gain saying therefore that natural birth is still the best way to go and should be encouraged; normal child delivery is supposed to be with minimal discomfort or pain – purely a natural function just the way it was with primitive man and primitive societies even today!

Throughout life and especially when a woman is pregnant, she should be even the more careful with her diet and general lifestyle. Thus studies have shown largely that the dietary pattern or behaviour, and lifestyle of the mother to be, is directly related to her well-being, state of the womb and the condition of the new born baby. It is the aggregation of these factors that will eventually indicate whether or not there will be complications such as anaemia, toxemia, and premature birth.

A whole lot of these denatured foods that are consumed on a daily basis today have always led to overweight foetus leading to painful delivery and even worse situations. You are therefore advised to stay off processed foods and unhealthy drinks; be active, drink plenty of clean water, do exercise, wear well fitting clothing and just be natural.

By Morgan Nwanguma

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