By Augusta Uchediunor
A Gynaecologist, Dr Uche Isioma, on Saturday called for continued enlightenment of pregnant women on the need to attend antenatal care, even during this period of lockdown across the country to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Isioma spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that measures should be put in place to continue encouraging pregnant women to have access to basic antenatal and postnatal healthcare needs.
“Antenatal classes provide windows for expectant mother to check and monitor the development of baby and mother during pregnancy, in such a way that mortalities can be reduced or eliminated.
“If focus on this area is neglected, the statistics on Nigeria’s maternal mortality may increase.
“Good antenatal care include regular screening, which can detect and prevent early complications such as hypertension and pregnancy-induced diabetes, all of which can affect the foetus.
“Also, this antenatal class is an avenue to advise women on good nutrition and important vitamins to take to improve mothers’ immuned system, health as well as that of the unborn baby.
“This class can also provide the opportunity for friendly support, so that there will be a way to allow pregnant women to have access to this care,’’ Isioma said.
He advised health facilities that handle antenatal classes to device ways to provide cares for pregnant women.
“Health facilities should adequately brief pregnant women on how to protect themselves during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
“If pregnant women cannot come physically to the hospitals for the classes, healthcare providers can divide them into acceptable groups so that they come physically, while observing acceptable precautionary protocols.
“Also, another way could be to put them in whatsApp groups, instagram or personally get in touch with them one-on-one to monitor their progress and give them advice.
“However, the importance of physical examination cannot be overemphasised and eliminated.
“Health authorities should look into these to ensure that this period of lockdown across the country does not contribute to the rise in the nation’s maternal mortality rate,” the gynaecologist said. (NAN)