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Homechevron_rightWorldchevron_rightLancet study shows...

Lancet study shows least 40 mn women have long-term health problems after childbirth

Lancet study shows least 40 mn women have long-term health problems after childbirth

New Delhi: A recent study that was published in the journal The Lancet Global Health indicated that each year at least 40 million women are likely to face a long-term health issue as a result of delivery. Researchers discovered that 35% of these postpartum women had low back pain, and almost a third (35%) had dyspareunia, the symptom of suffering pain during sexual activity.

Other symptoms affecting postnatal women included involuntary urination (8-31 per cent), anxiety (9-24 per cent), depression (11-17 per cent) and perineal pain (11 per cent), which refers to pain in the general region between the anus and the genital organs, the international team of researchers including those from the World Health Organization (WHO) said in their study. Their study showed that a high burden of postnatal conditions persisted in the months or even years after giving birth. However, many of these occur beyond the point where women typically have access to postnatal services.

The authors thus called for a greater recognition within the healthcare system of these common problems. Effective care throughout pregnancy and childbirth is also a critical preventive factor to detect risks and avert complications that can lead to lasting health issues after birth, they said.

The situation can be worse in many low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly those with a persistently high burden of maternal mortality, than in high-income countries (HICs), the researchers said in their study. During a literature review spanning the last 12 years, the authors identified no recent high-quality guidelines to support effective treatment for 40 per cent of the 32 priority conditions analysed in their study and found not a single high-quality guideline from a low- or middle-income country.

Even in countries where resources are channelled to meet the global targets for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, these long-term conditions are often overlooked, they said. Further, they added that data gaps were significant, as there were no nationally representative or global studies for any of the conditions identified through the research.

"Many postpartum conditions cause considerable suffering in women's daily life long after birth, both emotionally and physically, and yet they are largely underappreciated, underrecognized, and underreported," said Dr Pascale Allotey, Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research at WHO. "Throughout their lives, and beyond motherhood, women need access to a range of services from health-care providers who listen to their concerns and meet their needs – so they not only survive childbirth but can enjoy good health and quality of life," said Allotey.

With PTI inputs

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