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Note on Maternal and Child Health Care

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The health services provided to the women during pregnancy, delivery and lactating period and to the children under the age of the five with an aim of improving their health condition are called maternal and child health care. Lack of attention in maternal and child health care is the main cause of untimely death of the mother and children in the worth. Improvement in the community health is impossible unless there is significant progress in the maternal and child health care. The condition of maternal and child health care is very poor in the developing country nations like ours in comparison to the developed nations. The health status of developing nations is deteriorating due to high maternal, infant and child mortality rates. It is highly imperative to bring significant improvement in maternal and child health care to improve condition of the country.

The following points reflect the importance of maternal and child health care:

  1. It helps is safe pregnancy and provides good health care to pregnant women.
  2. It ensures the health of the mother and child as abortion is made by the trained personnel.
  3. It helps to the birth of the healthy baby because it provides services of vacation for immunization against the diseases and ensures balanced diet and cleanliness to the pregnant women during pregnancy.
  4. It protects the reproductive rights and creates happy life.

A child resides in the mother's womb for around nine month and the birth of a fully developed infant takes place. All the members should extend necessary support during the period to achieve safe motherhood. Adverse effects may appear in safe motherhood in absence of a good harmony among the family members. Thus, family members have a vital role for safe motherhood. The life of birth, the mother and the baby can be protected from the untimely death by necessary support from the family members.

Care of pregnant women

A healthy mother can give birth to a healthy baby. So, it is crucial to take care of the health of a woman since the starting of pregnancy. For this, a nutritious diet, regular health check- up, cleanliness, exercise, rest and immunization against diseases are important points to be considered.

  1. Nutritious diet: A pregnant women needs to take nutritious diet. It is important to fulfill her own and the developing child's nutritional requirement while taking the diet. The growth of a fetus takes places from the mother's blood through placenta. Thus, a mother should take a nutritious diet by incorporating the right proportion of all the nutrients. Pregnant women should be nourished with the protein foods like pulses, meet, eggs, fish milk, etc. she should also take sufficient fruits and vegetables containing the minerals like iodine, iron, calcium and vitamins.
  2. Health examination: Pregnant women should take regular health check up from the nearby hospital, health post, nursing home, etc. by consulting a gynecologist. It provides her necessary information on the condition of developing fetus and necessary precaution to be taken during pregnancy. It addition, it helps to identify the problems like anemia, bleeding, etc. and provides immediate treatment in such cases. A pregnant woman should have regular health checkup at least once a month in the first seven months of pregnancy, twice a month in the eight while nearing to the delivery date.
  3. Cleanliness: Personal cleanliness and environmental sanitation help to prevent various types of diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, typhoid, jaundice, etc. If pregnant women suffer from these diseases, then it highly affects the fetus in the womb. Therefore, it is extremely essential to pay attention to cleanliness during pregnancy. A pregnancy woman should take regular bath, wear clean clothes maintain personal hygienic habits and take fresh and clean food.
  4. Physical exercise and rest: Light physical exercises and rest are considered healthier for women. So, light walking in the morning and evening may be beneficial. However, activities such as heavy exercises, lifting of heavy loads may cause abortion in some cases. Traveling long at the beginning and ending period of delivery may be very risky. Sound sleep and proper rest may help pregnant women to develop a good health. Lack of rest and sleep may adversely affects the health of both child and mother. So, she should try to be cheerful and happy always.
  5. Vaccination/ Immunization: Pregnant women should get vaccinated against tetanus in order to protect themselves and the babies. It is essential to take T.T. vaccine two times between the seventh and ninth months of pregnancy at the interval of one month.

Care during delivery

The end of pregnancy is marked by the labour. It is a highly complicated stage, so women should be intensively taken care during their stage. This stage consists of three phases. The cervix dilates and the labour starts in the first phase. The baby is born in the second phase and the placenta comes out from the wall of the uterus and passes through the vagina in the third phase. The following care should be taken during the delivery of a baby:

  1. Once the labour pain starts then she should be taken to the nearby hospital or health center as soon as possible, otherwise a trained mid- wife should be called for the labour.
  2. She should be given liquids foods like fruits juice, glucose, water and hot milk, etc.
  3. She should be asked for frequent urination.
  4. She should be encouraged to complete the labour with patience and taken care with love and security.

Care for postnatal mother

The period between delivery and two months after delivery is called postnatal period. The infant entirely depends on the mother for his survival in this period. So, proper care should be provided to both the mother and infant during the period. Some of the ways to provide care to the mother or infant are as follows:

  1. The mother should be served with extra nutritious diet including the foods like meat, eggs, pulses, vegetables, fruits, etc.
  2. The infant should be kept clean by bathing after a couple of days of delivery. The infants may also be kept clean by using clean cloth to wipe the body.
  3. The infant should be fed with the colostrum's or the first secretion of the mother's breast on the day of delivery. The colostrum's is rich in protein and contain antibodies to fight against diseases.
  4. Mother should follow healthy hygiene habit by maintaining personal cleanliness and should take extra care to keep the breast and nipples clean.

Infant health care

An average weight of three kilogram and height of fifty centimeter is considered appropriate for a newly born baby. The weight should be three times more than the weight of birth and height should be seventy five centimeters after completing one year in the average if the child attains healthy growth and development.

An infant should be taken care of as follows:

  1. The infant should be held inverted immediately after the birth so that mucus, water, etc. comes out of nose and mouth which helps to clear the blockage.
  2. To ensure to continuous supply of blood from the mother, the infant should be kept below the level of uterus and tied to the umbilical cord.
  3. The nose and mouth of the infant should be cleaned by removing the mucus.
  4. The baby should be wrapped by clean clothes and kept warm.
  5. The umbilical cord should be cut by using the sterilized and safe instruments.
  6. If the mother's milk is insufficient, then other liquid should be provided to the infant.

Child Nutrition

The mother's milk is considered the best nutrition for an infant. Breast feeding should be done to a newly born baby for the first four month. Mother,s milk provides sufficient nutrition and develops a strong immune system to fight against diseases. Nourishing the infants with the packet milk and other animal milks is not considered appropriate from the perspective of health at the beginning of child nutrition.

Breast Feeding has got the following advantages:

  1. It is the best nutrient for the infant as it includes all the nutritional requirements. Moreover, it can be suckled at any time.
  2. Colostrum contains antibodies which increases the immune power to fight against diseases.
  3. It prevents the child from diarrhea.
  4. It is economically beneficial as there is no need to spend the money for buying the commercial milk.
  5. It strengthens the affinity between the mother and the child.

The following table has shown the nutritional requirement of children up to two years of age:

Age group Food items
0-5 months Mothers milk
5-6 months Mothers milk, lotto and mashed vegetables.
6-9 months Mothers milk, lotto and mashed vegetables and soft fruits.
1-2 years Mothers milk, rice, pulses, lotto, dal, cereals, green vegetables, egg, meat, milk, butter, etc.

Points for attention

  1. All the vaccines should be given in time.
  2. BCG should be taken only whereas DPT and Polio should be given three times.
  3. There is a probability of diseases unless the vaccination of DPT and Polio is taken.
  4. Little fever might be seen after immunization but it is not necessary to worry about it.

  • The health services provided to the women during pregnancy, delivery and lactating period and to the children under the age of the five with an aim of improving their health condition are called maternal and child health care.
  • Nutrition, health examination, immunization , cleanliness, and physical exercise should be provided for the mother and child.
  • The weight should be three times more than the weight of birth and height should be seventy five centimeters after completing one year in the average if the child attains healthy growth and development.
  • Mother’s milk provides sufficient nutrition and develops a strong immune system to fight against diseases.
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Very Short Questions

  • Maternal health refers to health of the mother. Similarly, child health is related to the health of child. The following points justify the importance of maternal and child health care:
  • It helps in healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.
  • It helps to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.
  • It helps to teach the mother regarding child care, personal hygiene and environmental sanitation.
  • It helps to remove anxiety and fear associated with delivery.
  • It helps to sensitize the mother to the need for family planning, birth gap and number of desired children.
  • It helps to detect and foresee the complication of mother and child and prevent them.
  • It helps to advise cases seeking medical treatment of pregnancy.
  • It protects the reproductive rights of women.

The advantages of breast feeding are:

  • Since, mother's milk is the best food for baby which contains almost the nutrients that a baby needs. It is rich in antibodies.
  • It saves baby against various infectious disease due to the presence of nutrients to fight against them.
  • The breast feeding controls diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.
  • The breast feeding develops an intimate relation between mother and baby.
  • It also controls conception due to the increase of hormone.

Colostrums mean the milk of mother immediately after the birth of baby to the period about one week. Colostrums are rich in antibodies.
The importances of colostrums are as follows:

  • It contains almost all that a baby needs and is prepared as source of food.
  • It saves baby against various infectious diseases due to the presence of nutrition and antibodies to fight against them.
  • It develops an intimate relation between mother and baby.
  • Feeding this to baby prevents hardening of breast and breast cancer etc.

Immunization is the process of increasing immunity power against different disease germs by administering the related immunizing vaccination. If there is vaccination against any diseases, the chance of onset disease is less. The body develops capacity to fight and kill the causative germs by immunization. The table given below gives information about immunization against different diseases:

Name of vaccination Disease controlled Age at first dose Number of dose Time interval
B.C.G Tuberculosis (TB) Within one year 1 -
D.P.T Diphtheria, Pertusis 6 weeks - 1 year 3 1/1 month
Hepatitis B Hepatitis B 6 weeks -  1 year 3 Second dose after one month of first dose and third dose after 6 months.
Polio Poliomyelitis 6 weeks - 1 year 3 1/1 month
Measles Measles 9 months- 1 year 1 -
T.T (tetanus toxin) Tetanus Pregnant women (two dose in the first pregnancy and a single dose in others) 5 1/1 month

The objective of maternal and a child health care are to give good health to the baby and mother throughout the life. The importance of maternal and child health cares are as follows:

  • It helps to promote, protect and maintain the health of the mother during pregnancy.
  • It helps to reduce maternal and infant mortality rate.
  • It helps to teach mother regarding the child care, personal hygiene and environmental sanitation.
  • It helps to remove anxiety and fear associated with delivery.
  • It helps to detect 'high risk' cases and give them special attention.
  • It makes mother aware about the need of family planning, birth spacing and number of desired children.

The newly born baby should be cared in the following ways:

  • As soon as the baby is born, it should be held upside down so that the mucus and water, entered into the mouth and nose can easily come out.
  • The baby should be washed quickly with warm water and wiped with a clean cloth then wrapped in a warm cloth.
  • Coed should be cut by using properly sterilized instruments and cord ties. 
  • Breast feeding should be taken as soon as possible.
  • Immunization should be provided.

Breast milk is ideal for the infant. It contains various elements in the correct proportion required by the baby. Prolonged breast feeding prevents the infant form malnutrition and some infections. No additional food is required for the baby until 4-5 months after birth. After 4-5 months, the baby needs supplementary food beside breast milk.
The baby cannot take the food properly up to the age of two years and breast milk is the proper nutrition and it protects from malnutrition and some infection. Therefore, breast feeding is necessary to the infants up to the age of two years.

Care should be taken on the following points while vaccinating infants:

  • Complete the dose of vaccine.
  • All the vaccine must be administered within the time and with the schedule.
  • Complete the three doses of DPT and Polio.
  • Mild fever or illness may be observant after the immunization, but the child gets relief automatically.
  • Minor wound may be seen at the site of vaccination. It should not be rubbed, it gets gradually heal up.
  • Vaccination can be given in a case of mild sickness too.

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  • Which of the following points does not reflect the importance of maternal and child health care?

    None of these
    It ensures the health of the mother and child as abortion is made by the trained personne
    It helps is safe pregnancy and provides good health care to pregnant women
    It does not protects the reproductive rights and creates happy life
  • What is the nutritional requirement of children of 0-5 months?

    Mothers milk
    Mothers milk, lotto and mashed vegetables and soft fruits
    None of these
    Mothers milk, lotto and mashed vegetables.
  • The children of 6-9 months should not be feed with mother's milk.

    Can't say
    Maybe true
    False
    True
  • DPT and Polio vaccine should be given to children for __ __ ..

    It shouls not be given to children
    2 times
    Only one time
    3 times
  • Which of the following is not the aspect related to Infant health care?

    The nose and mouth of the infant should be cleaned by removing the mucus.
    To ensure to continuous supply of blood from the mother, the infant should be kept upward the level of uterus and tied to the umbilical cord.
    If the mother s milk is insufficient, then other liquid should be provided to the infant.
    The umbilical cord should be cut by using the sterilized and safe instruments.
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Madhav Bhandari

Isn't there any problem while vaccinating the baby unless a baby has mild fever is written but I think it causes infection because baby's body is soft


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