Long Read

Little did I know: 5 things you didn’t know about (un)safe pregnancies

To what extent are we aware of the freedom and safety we have, when it comes to safe pregnancies? What if we couldn’t decide freely about a topic of such importance? Or becoming pregnant would carry a big risk? For many vulnerable women in Africa and Asia, this is reality. Many of them face important health risks because of the complications that are related to their pregnancy or delivery. What is the story and what are the numbers behind this? Why is it so important for Simavi to work on professional health care and child-birth support for pregnant women and mothers? These are 5 facts you probably didn’t know about (un)safe pregnancy and child-birth in the countries Simavi is working..

On global level, every day 800 women pass away during delivery. 99% of them live in developing countries.

Worldwide, maternal mortality numbers are very high and on daily basis 800 mothers pass away during or right after child-birth. 792 of these women are living in developing countries. For them, the risks and complications are a relatively big threat. They and their families are often calling too late for the medical help needed to safely deliver the baby. Also, lack of available transport to hospitals or clinics and lack of facilities and personnel stimulate this high mortality number. This includes the lack of basic facilities like clean water and toilets.

Every year, 40 million mothers give birth without professional guidance

Many women are forced to endure their delivery without any medical support or professional guidance. Reasons for this are for example delaying the decision to call for help or the lack of transport to a hospital nearby. This increases risks and the chances for complications. That’s why Simavi invests in professional pregnancy support and health care for children. Traditional midwifes from local communities are educated to work as health care workers. Also transport issues are under revision: think of mobile clinics that can bring safe health care into the villages!

The biggest causes of maternal mortality are hypertension and haemorrhage

33 to 50% of maternal mortality cases is caused by such complications. Hypertension is abnormal high blood pressure and haemorrhage is blood loss, both becoming high-risk factors during delivery. These deaths can be avoided if good quality and culturally sensitive antenatal care is available. Delivery is often hampered by low quality services due to a lack of equipment and shortages of staff. To tackle this problem and reduce maternal mortality, Simavi and knowledge institute TNO teamed up in an innovative project: Check2gether.

The medical costs of unplanned pregnancies are more than 2x as high as the costs to prevent them

The costs to prevent unplanned pregnancies, by means of modern birth control services, are much lower than the costs associated with health care practices for unplanned pregnancies. For every $1 spent on birth control services above the current level, the costs of medical care during and after pregnancy would decrease with $2,22. An important approach, given the fact that there is a group of 214 million women that want to prevent becoming pregnant, but do not have access to modern birth control services. Southern Asia represents most women originating from this group.

1 out of every 10 pregnancies in developing countries results in an unsafe abortion

Unsafe abortions also contribute to the high maternal mortality number. Another reason why the need for access to safe birth control services is so high. That is how we could prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies in a safe way. It enables women and girls to decide for themselves whether they want to become pregnant and enables us to decrease the death rate related to unsafe abortions.

These 5 facts showcase why Simavi wants to motivate pregnant women to make healthy choices and demand medical services. Want to know more about our work on (un)safe pregnancies in developing countries? Check out our programmes here.

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