WORLD HEALTH DAY: 1998 Theme Supports Maternal Health
"Although the risk for women dying from pregnancy has decreased substantially during the past 50 years, the maternal mortality ratio for the nation has not decreased since 1982," according to the current issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The full risk and "extent of morbidity associated with pregnancy" often goes unrecognized, MMWR reports, even though some "50% of pregnancy-related deaths remain preventable." Accordingly, this year's World Health Day, Tuesday, April 7, adopts the theme "Support Safe Motherhood," with a focus on opportunities to decrease risk associated with pregnancy and to improve overall maternal health. Crucial aspects include good nutrition, physical activity, good health care prior to conception and "avoidance of harmful substances." Also important are planning for conception and pregnancy, early and high- quality prenatal care, full-term pregnancies, delivery with minimal intervention and postpartum support and care. Toward the goal of healthier motherhood, MMWR reports a need for improved public surveillance programs and research to identify risks and complication warning signs. Such research includes study of "the essential content of prenatal care" and "programs to ensure adequate intake of folic acid by women of reproductive age to prevent neural tube defects" in infants. Further information is available at www.aawhworldhealth.org (MMWR, 3/27 issue). Click here to view a pdf version of MMWR.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.