Reproductive health is quite difficult to talk about in a conservative society where it’s considered as an extremely private affair of a couple but any of complexities and consequences are to be suffered to entire family. Here, a discussion on this topic is an attempt to bring to light its importance and some causes behind this, as it’s somewhat Socio-medical issue that involves an affected couple, family/parents and Medical persons.
Fortunately if all is well then no problem, a happy couple makes a happy and healthy family. However, in case a pregnant woman is going to suffer a severe mental distress (for any reason) throughout pregnancy, a general observation is that she delivers an infant either pre-mature (before time) or with some kind of disabilities (physical or mental) so it is very important to save a pregnant woman from all emotional, mental distress and psychological complexities leading towards sometime behavioral disorders other than pregnancy or childbirth related sufferings.
The reasons behind emotional and mental distress arising during and post-pregnancy situation are different from case to case but some major causes which medical professionals and social scientists discover are:
CUnder age marriage
CWomen over all poor health condition
CExpectation or pressure to deliver a male infant
CUnpleasant relationship with husband or his family
CMaternal Family (Parents/Sisters) are away or “made away”
CFear about weak financial position
CNon-availability of proper medical care after pregnancy
From the above highlights, first eight causes (or may be more) are coming from home and last one only belongs to medical professionals and institutions. In big cities women health care is somehow in better shape but the situation gets worse in rural areas mainly because of customary social and tribal structure and the decision-making authority lying in hands of either her husband or husband’s parents who, in majority, do not understand OR not ready to understand (adherent to traditions) possible complications and ignore what a woman needs to be treated from pregnancy to safe delivery of child.
Reproductive health, in fact, should be understood as a combination of medical and social sciences, that needs special training enabling medical professionals to deal with behavioral disorders scientifically. The statistics from Medical sources reveals that one in every 38 women dies from pregnancy related complications in our country. There is also a much higher incidence rate of delivery-related morbidity and other relevant disabilities with grave indirect consequence on emotional, mental and psychological well-being of the concerned women.
In majority of the causes of maternal and child morbidity and mortality are preventable or readily treatable with simple, inexpensive technologies and approaches. The situation in our country is more critical, as age of pregnancy is under 16 years for most of our rural women, who simply suffer or die not because of the diseases are incurable but the society has yet to “make the decision” that their lives are worth saving.
The important challenge is how to educate rural people of Pakistan, remaining within their customary-cum-tribal “social constraints” existing specially in Pakistan’s northern areas, that approaching to women health care centers would enable their women to go safely through pregnancy and the best possible risk-free chance of having a healthy infant.
There are many other social issues gripping Pakistani society should resolve by now such as under age marriage, inappropriate match, right of family planning, unwanted pregnancy and male/female infant birth issue in family, that directly hit a woman’s emotions and mental health during and after pregnancy.
The concrete efforts with specific focus on the promotion of reproductive health care both on public and private sectors need to be reinitiated to educate entire society and particularly to religious class to join hands and be helpful in campaign to make a healthy society overall and provide resources to medical professionals on scientific handling of reproductive health to level down maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in Pakistan.