Significant numbers of pregnant women still miss out on antenatal care in India, reveals survey

As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) data, in Mumbai only 31.3% of pregnant women have received full antenatal care in 2015-16. Though city doctors say there is a rise in registration of antenatal care, although more awareness is needed

Significant numbers of pregnant women still miss out on antenatal care in India, reveals survey
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  • In Mumbai, only 31.3% of all pregnant women have received full antenatal care in 2015-16.
  • As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) data, a significant percentage of women still miss out on antenatal care in India.
  • Though city doctors say there is an increase in registration of antenatal care, more awareness is needed to ensure every pregnant woman registers for it.
  • Doctors opine antenatal care is necessary to detect any complications at an early stage of pregnancy.
  • Most Indian women suffer from anaemia, which is caused due to dip in total amount of haemoglobin required.

Why is antenatal care important?

Dr Arun Nayak, Gynaecologist at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General (Sion) Hospital, said, “In a metropolitan city like Mumbai, awareness about antenatal care is good. Over 95% of pregnant women in Mumbai get themselves registered for antenatal care.”

Gynaecologists say antenatal care is a must for every pregnant woman to acknowledge the complications at an early stage. It is important for general well-being of the baby as well as the mother. If there are any complications, then they can be treated at an early stage.

“Most Indian women suffer from anaemia which is arises due to a decrease in the total amount of required haemoglobin. Therefore, when a pregnant woman is gets antenatal care at a regular basis, we get a period of nine whole nine months to overcome any complications,” said Dr Komal Chavan, Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist at Dr RN Cooper Municipal General Hospital.

She further added that more awareness is needed in rural as well as urban areas.

Myths around pregnancy

Doctors observe that even though India has progressed, there are still many misconceptions that exist among Indian women and their family such as not disclosing pregnancy during first three months or visiting local doctors instead of a gynaecologist.

“This is what I see in cities. When it comes to villages, there is lack of awareness and unavailability of health care. So, we need to work more in these areas,” added Chavan.

Dr Ganesh Shinde emphasised that once the importance of antenatal care is established, only then early detection will help in eliminating complications and make life easy for mother and child.

“By detecting birth defects well in advance, required action can be taken. As of today, there is a 20-week deadline for abortion in India.”