The maternal mortality rate in Nigeria is unacceptably high and necessitates a critical review of our healthcare system with the aim of improving not just maternal outcomes but every other health indicator. While we wait and clamour for an improvement, we need to look out for ourselves and for those around us.
Just like in every aspect of health, there are certain things that could signal problems when they happen to a pregnant woman. Since our emergency healthcare system leaves so much to be desired, every pregnant woman should be aware of these and take necessary steps to get medical attention as fast as possible for her sake and that of her unborn baby. It it usually better that one gets to the hospital and it turns out there was no need to have panicked than one failing to get there and things turn awry. Most times, early medical attention makes the difference between life and death.
Any of these occurrences should make a pregnant woman get medical attention as fast as possible as they could signal that something is wrong.
(1)Spotting or bleeding at whatever stage of the pregnancy.
(2) A throbbing headache that paracetamol does little or nothing to relieve.
(3) Excessive dizziness. Dizziness often comes with pregnancy but if it becomes excessive that you can't stand please get medical attention fast.
(4) Severe cramping anytime during the pregnancy.
(5) Greenish or black vaginal discharge
(6) Sickness. We have perfected the art of self-medication in Nigeria; often to our peril. Pregnancy is not a time to engage in self medication. Whenever you feel sick. let a medical practitioner do the diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate drug . Not all drugs are safe in pregnancy. Some drugs could expose you and/or your unborn baby to harm.
(7) Painful and rhythmic contractions when your pregnancy is not yet full term.
(8) A fall face-down on your belly or any other hard, strong painful contact with your bump.
(9) Any instinctive feeling that something is wrong with you or your pregnancy
(10) Not feeling your baby's kick for 12 to 24 hours after 27 weeks of your pregnancy.
While any of these occurrences does not necessarily mean that something is wrong with you or your unborn baby, they mean you need medical attention ASAP, in fact FAST to rule out something wrong. And it's important for you to insist on getting medical attention. If your registered hospital is being slow or cannot attend to you, it is not a time to wait it out, go to an equally good medical center with skilled and licensed health workers in attendance and get attention. No mother wants to loose her life in the process of bringing forth another human, no mother should. Most times, early medical attention can make the difference.