'Family support key for pregnant women'

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Tiruchirapalli, Mar 13 (UNI) As family participation is crucial to maintain the psychological and physical health of pregnant women, family members should also undergo periodic counselling along with the women, medicos at a workshop on 'Partnership for maternal, newborn and child health', have opined.

Inaugurating 'Partnership', a project of the All Tamil Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ATFOG) and the Tiruchirapalli Branch of Indian Medical Association here last night, IMA State President M Mohandass said the scope of the project would be extended to rural areas, with a team of doctors visiting remote villages to offer ante-natal counselling for pregnant women and family members.

In his special address, K A P Viswanatham Medical College Dean P Ravishankar said educating women on the medical aspects of gestation and encouraging them to seek the advice of doctors when in doubt would go a long way in cutting down infant and maternal mortality rates.

ATFOG Honorary Secretary Jayam Kannan said the onus was on family members to encourage women to seek medical advice right from the first month of pregnancy. Increasing institutional deliveries was a healthy sign towards controlling maternal mortality rates. But, family expectations increase the stress on pregnant women, adding to maternal complications. ''Our workshops aim at counselling spouses and in-laws to encourage domestic participation,'' she said, speaking on the sidelines of the workshop.

She pointed out that infant and maternal mortality rates had come down, but myths about pregnancy still prevailed even in urban areas.

Promoting safe family planning methods and the need for breastfeeding the newborns were the key agendas of the project.

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