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A mother is like a school, Prepare her well,

So you prepare a great whole nation

It is a verse in Arabic poem for the poet Hafez Ibrahim, he described the great and clear impact of the mother on the lives of all individuals. The mother is the first station from which a person begins his life and his exploration of the surroundings around him.

We will dedicate today’s article to talk about Mother’s Day. Moreover, we will focus more on maternal and child health. And that’s because, if we start from the foundation, which is maternal and child health, we will reach what we want as a happy and healthy life. So, stay with us.

Mother’s Day

Dearly I yearn for my mother’s bread, My mother’s coffee, Mother’s brushing touch.

And I so cherish life Because if I died My mother’s tears would shame me.

To My Mother – Mahmoud Darwish

Mother’s Day is a special day to honor mothers. It is celebrated all over the world, as it is a day focused on celebrating and honoring mothers for all that they do for us.

When is Mother’s Day?

It is usual to celebrate Mother’s Day on March 21st. But many of us do not know that Mother’s Day differs from one country to another! As in other countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated on different dates. Some examples:

  • in the USA, Canada, Australia, Italy and Turkey, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May.
  • In the UK, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of the Christian period of Lent.
  • In most Arab countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 21st , and these countries are: Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, Oman and Sudan.
Mother's Day
Mother’s Day

Maternal and Child Health Concept

The health of the mother and child is one of the most important things that should be paid special attention to. As The woman’s journey of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding is an important and special journey that requires a lot of attention and focus. As pregnancy is a special physiological condition that happns to the female body. Thus, there are many changes that women will face at this sensitive stage.

Maternal Health refers to a woman’s health during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Each stage must be a positive experience ensuring that mothers and newborns receive their full health and well-being.

Child Health refers to the health of children under the age of five. Protecting and improving the health of children is of fundamental importance in their lives.

The Importance of Maternal and Child Health

There is no doubt about the importance of maternal and child health, because they are like other members of society and have the right to health. However, special focus should be placed on maternal and child health, because of its effects not only on the mother and the child, but on the entire community.

Taking caring of the health of the mother and child does:

  • Ensure a healthy pregnancy and good healthcare.
  • Helping deliver a healthy baby by providing vaccination services, ensuring a balanced diet, and maintaining healthy body systems.
  • Protecting reproductive rights and promoting a happy life.
  • Ensure the health of mother and child.
  • Help reduce preventable deaths among women and infants.

Maternal Mortality Can Devastate Families

A 2022 article in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth reported that maternal mortality can significantly affect the mental health and overall well-being of all members of the family. Specifically, the loss of a mother can result in surviving family members experiencing:

– Changes in family structure, such as children being sent to live in another home

– Complicated grief

– A decline in physical health

Depressive symptoms

– Feelings of overwhelming sadness and emptiness

– Unemployment

As it is so painful for a child to live without a mother, Therefore, taking care of mother’s health, especially during pregnancy and childbirth, is an important and basic social responsibility.

Maternal Morbidity Can Have Multiple Negative Consequences

Maternal Morbidity is: health conditions that result from pregnancy or are made worse by pregnancy — also is accompanied by a range of unfortunate consequences.

In 2021, the Commonwealth Fund published a report that found maternal morbidity can:

– Increase medical costs for years following a birth

– Increase the risk of children having chronic health conditions or behavioral and developmental disorders

– Lead to reduced productivity at work and unemployment

– Result in an increased need for social service programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Maternal and Child Health
The Importance of Maternal and Child Health

Types of Maternal and Child Health

You may be asking now my dear, ”Are there really types of maternal and child health?” The answer is, yes. They are closer to classifications than species. These classifications help in understanding and planning to maintain organizting the health. Maternal and child health include:

  • Maternal health
  • Child health
  • Mental health
  • Family planning
  • School health
  • Handicapped children
  • Care of children in special setting such as day care.

Factors Affecting Maternal and Child Health

There are many factors that affect the health of the mother and child. As we see in some societies the importance of maternal and child health. And in other societies, maternal and child health is almost absent. This depends on several factors, including:

  • Education level
  • Knowledge of one’s own right
  • Sociocultural practices
  • Cultural taboos
  • Early marriage and pregnancy
  • Gender based violence
  • Women’s internalization of patriarchal values
  • Social services
  • Provision of clean water and sanitation
  • Health care access and utilization
  • Health care quality
  • Income/Employment
  • Illiterate women’s economic activity
  • Water, food and sanitation
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Family health
  • Poor health status of family members
  • Lack of accessibility family planning services

All of the aforementioned plays an essential and important role in the health of the mother and child. How can a mother know the importance of her health if she is not aware of her rights? Or if she is not educated?

We find that in some societies, women and mothers are exposed to a lot of oppression and violence, which will inevitably affect the health of the mother and the child.

And here comes our role dear, to help the women and mothers of the community around us and push them to protect themselves and their health, as they are the foundation of society and its glorious goal.

Ways to Promote Maternal and Child Health

Promoting maternal and child health is crucial. This is to ensure the health of their lives and prevent future health problems.

We will now talk about some ways to enhance the health of the mother and child:

  1. Encouraging Regular Prenatal Care:

Prenatal care is necessary to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child. So, mothers should schedule regular appointments with their doctors to monitor their health and the proper development of the baby.

So my dear, we can say that care begins from the moment a woman decides to become pregnant, even before pregnancy occurs, the woman should see a doctor and make sure that everything is fine to ensure a healthy pregnancy that is easy and not tiring.

Then comes the prenatal stage as well. It must be taken care of, periodic follow-up with the doctor, pay attention to all disturbing symptoms, and learn how to properly deal with it.

  1. Healthy Diet:

A healthy diet is essential for both mother and child. Therefore, we should encourage mothers to eat a healthy and balanced diet that includes both fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.

The mother should also avoid unhealthy foods and substances such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

  1. Exercise Regularly:

Exercise regularly can help moms-to-be maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and promote overall health. Therefore, we encourage the pregnant mother to practice safe and appropriate exercise during pregnancy.

  1. Support Breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for children. It can provide many health benefits for both the mother and the baby.

Therefore, we see many advertising campaigns that encourage and support breastfeeding, and mention its benefits and positive effects.

  1. Emotional Support:

We all know that pregnancy and childbirth are sensitive stages in a woman’s life, and she needs emotional and mental support. So, we should understand that, provide her with mental comfort and emotional support, encourage her to talk to friends, relatives and doctors about any problem she is facing, and never leave her alone.

  1. Ensuring Proper Vaccinations:

Vaccines are essential to prevent disease and protect the health of mother and child. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to this side, and provide all vaccines and appropriate and supportive physical protection means.

So like that, promoting maternal and child health enables us to ensure a healthier and happier future for families and communities.

Mother’s Mental Health

Motherhood is often portrayed as one of the most beautiful experiences a woman can go through. an experience full of love, joy and fulfillment. But there is another side to the story, motherhood can be one of the most difficult mental experiences that can a woman go through.

As the mother’s mental health is an issue that needs discussion and understanding, because it affects not only the mother, but the whole family.

Mother’s Mental Health Problems

Many women suffer from mental health problems during and after pregnancy. “Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs)” are among the most common complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth. It affects one in seven women.

PMADs include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These disorders can be caused by hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and the stress associated with caring for a newborn.

Now, we will talk briefly about each disorder in order to get to know it in general without going into the details that we will leave to the specialists. Among the disorders we mention:

  1. Postpartum Depression:

Postpartum depression (PPD) is one of the most common disorders of pregnancy and childbirth. It affects up to 20% of new mothers. It can happen during the first year after birth.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritation
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

If the mother is left untreated, postpartum depression can have severe consequences for both the mother and the child. It can lead to problems with bonding, breastfeeding, and the mother’s ability to care for her child.

  1. Postpartum Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are also common among mothers. Postpartum anxiety (PPA) affects up to 10% of new mothers. It can manifest as excessive anxiety, panic attacks, and physical symptoms such as nausea and headaches. It is certain dear that the mother will feel anxious about her coming child, and she will suffer from overthinking. As it’s a new thing for her, and she will feel responsible because she will have a child and she will be responsible for him and will raise him and take care of him. All these thoughts will be a cause for anxiety and mental stress.

Postpartum anxiety disorder can also make it difficult for mothers to function in their daily lives. Which leads to problems with sleep, appetite and relationships.

  1. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is another mental health condition that can affect mothers.

Women with bipolar disorder are at increased risk of postpartum psychosis, a severe mental illness that can include hallucinations, delusions, and episodes of mania or depression.

Treatment of Mother’s Mental Health Problems

Mothers who suffer from pregnancy and childbirth disorders often feel shy and lonely. They may be afraid of other people’s judgment, or they are afraid of feeling like a bad mother. Therefore, these mental disorders that may affect the mother during pregnancy and childbirth must be treated. Treatments of mother’s mental health problems include:

  • Appropriate drug treatment, which is under the supervision of a doctor and in regulated and studied doses.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as this therapy is known to help individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and behaviors and teache strategies for dealing with symptoms.
Maternal and Child Health
Mother’s Mental Health

Promoting Mother’s Mental Health

Promoting mother’s mental health is an important issue that requires a comprehensive and holistic approach.

Here are some important ways to enhance the mother’s mental health:

  1. Education:

Education is the first step in enhancing mother’s mental health. Providing women with information about the challenges they may face during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period can help them prepare for and deal with these challenges.

Education should also include information on how to recognize the signs of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) that we talked about earlier in this article, and how to get the right treatment.

  1. Support:

Mothers need support from their families, husbands, friends and doctors.

As support can come in many forms, such as emotional support, practical support and educational support. Doctors and health care providers should also conduct regular check-ups for mothers and refer them to appropriate hospitals and clinics when necessary.

  1. Self-care

Mothers need to take care of themselves physically and emotionally. This means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking time out for self-care activities such as meditation, yoga, or favorite hobbies.

Encouraging mothers to take breaks and engage in activities they enjoy can also help reduce stress and improve mental health.

  1. Tests:

Physicians and health supervisors should screen all pregnant and postpartum women for pregnancy and childbirth disorders using approved screening kits, which helps in paying attention to the disorder from its inception, seeking to treat it, and taking care of the mother’s mental health before the condition worsens and treatment becomes more difficult.

  1. Offer Treatment:

Mothers with disorders of pregnancy and childbirth should receive evidence-based treatment such as psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Treatment must be tailored to the individual needs of the mother and must be provided in a supportive and nurturing environment.

  1. Changing Mental Disorder’s Concept:

The stigma associated with mental disorder must be removed in society, and mothers should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek help if they are struggling emotionally.

This is done by promoting a culture of openness and understanding, so that mothers can feel comfortable asking for the help they need without fear of judgment.

Therefore, we ask you dear, to pay close attention to this matter, whether you’re a new mom, or about to become pregnant and give birth, or even if you know a pregnant woman or a new mother, as ”an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”.

Frequently Asked Questions about Maternal and Child Health

Maternal and Child Health
Child Health

Effect of Breastfeeding on Mother and Child

There is no doubt about the many benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the child. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
We will now mention some of the benefits of breastfeeding:

1. Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Child:
– Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition:
Breast milk contains all the necessary nutrients that an infant needs for growth and development. It is also easy to digest and provides substances called antibodies that help protect against infection and disease.

– Breastfeeding reduces the risk of disease:
A breastfed infant is less likely to develop ear infections, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, and other illnesses.

– Breastfeeding promotes cognitive development:
Breastfeeding has been linked to improved cognitive development in the infant, which may have long-term benefits for his success in his life, studies and work in the future.

– Breastfeeding promotes bonding:
Skin-to-skin contact and close physical contact during breastfeeding can enhance the bonding between mother and child. I think that every mother who has breastfed her child will feel the previous words.

2. Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother:
– Breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size:
Breastfeeding stimulates the secretion of hormones that help the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size faster, there for, providing comfort to the mother.

– Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer:
Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women.

– Breastfeeding helps in losing weight:
Breastfeeding burns extra calories, which helps the mother to lose the weight gained during pregnancy.

– Breastfeeding offers emotional benefits:
Breastfeeding can help a mother feel more relaxed and connected to her baby. Which can improve their overall emotional feeling.

How Much Caffeine is Allowed during Pregnancy and Lactation?

Who does not enjoy a morning cup of coffee? Coffee is essential in our day. As it gives us energy and focus. But can a pregnant woman drink coffee? And how much caffeine is allowed during pregnancy and lactation?
The recommended safe amount of caffeine during pregnancy and lactation varies according to the source, but it is generally recommended to limit caffeine intake to no more than 200-300 mg per day. That’s the equivalent of one to two 8-ounce cups of coffee.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), moderate caffeine intake during pregnancy (up to 200 mg per day) is not associated with an increased risk of miscarriage or preterm labor. However, high caffeine intake during pregnancy (more than 200 mg per day) may be associated with a slightly increased risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight, and other complications.
Likewise, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises that breastfeeding women should limit caffeine intake to no more than 300 mg per day to avoid affecting a baby’s sleep patterns or causing irritability or fussiness.

In the end, we wish a happy Mother’s Day to all mothers around the world. We wish health and wellness to every mother who got pregnant, tired and endured in order to see her children in the best condition. We hope you liked the article. And enlighten your path with regard to preserving the health of the mother, The health of the greatest human being in history.

Do not forget sweetheart to share the articles with all your friends who are interested, pregnant, and about to get pregnant, to pay attention to all the mentioned details and to enjoy a healthy pregnancy and a relaxed psyche far from suffering and fatigue.

Sources

Mother’s Day around the World

Nutrition during Pregnancy

World Health Organization

Maternal and Child Health

Maternal Health Care