Opportunities to Reduce Maternal and Infant Mortality
Prevention measures to reduce maternal and infant mortality and to promote the health of all childbearing-aged women and their newborns should start before conception and continue through the postpartum period. Some of these prevention measures include the following:
Screen women for health risks and pre-existing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Counsel women about contraception and provide access to effective family planning services (to prevent unintended pregnancies and unnecessary abortions).
Counsel women about the benefits of good nutrition; encourage women especially to consume adequate amounts of folic acid supplements (to prevent neural tube defects) and iron.
Advise women to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs.
Advise women about the value of regular physical exercise.
Provide women with early access to high-quality care throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Such care includes risk-appropriate care, treatment for complications, and the use of antenatal corticosteroids when appropriate.
Monitor and, when appropriate, treat pre-existing chronic conditions.
Screen for and, when appropriate, treat reproductive tract infections including bacterial vaginosis, group B streptococcus infections, and human immunodeficiency virus.
Vaccinate women against influenza, if appropriate.
Continue counseling against use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.
Continue counseling about nutrition and physical exercise.
Educate women about the early signs of pregnancy-related problems.
During postpartum period
Vaccinate newborns at age-appropriate times.
Provide information about well-baby care and benefits of breastfeeding.
Warn parents about exposing infants to secondhand smoke.
Counsel parents about placing infants to sleep on their backs.
Educate parents about how to protect their infants from exposure to infectious diseases and harmful substances.
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