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Prenatal and Neonatal Healthcare

Prenatal Healthcare

Prenatal testing can provide valuable information about your baby’s health. Blood tests and imaging studies to screen for common conditions are routine in most pregnancies. Simple screen test and ultrasound testing does not pose any threat to the mother or the unborn child.

The Maternal Health Programme (External website that opens in a new window), which is a component of the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Programme (External website that opens in a new window), aims at reducing maternal mortality to less than 100 by the 2010. The major interventions includes essential obstetric care and the RCH Programme aims at providing at least 3 antenatal check ups during which weight and blood pressure check, abdominal examination, immunization against tetanus, iron and folic acid prophylaxis as well as anaemia management are provided to the pregnant women. Under the RCH Programme emergency obstetric care, 24-hour delivery services at primary health centres and safe abortion services are also provided.

Prenatal diagnostic testing can be done through foetal ultrasound, amniocentesis and chronic villous sampling.

However an issue of vital concern in some parts of the country is female infanticide. Under the National Rural Health Mission (External website that opens in a new window), the government has a programme called “Save the Girl Child (External website that opens in a new window)” which has a monitoring committee (External website that opens in a new window), several publications and an online grievance cell (External website that opens in a new window) for complaints against misuse of pre-diagnostic facilities.

Pre-natal diagnostic techniques are now governed by the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act (External website that opens in a new window), which prohibits determination and disclosure of the sex of the foetus.

Care during pregnancy

This period is very important and defines development of the unborn child right from the initial embryo stage to the final birth. Diet, exercise and pre-natal check-ups are extremely important. Necessary immunization and pre-natal testing are undertaken in this period to ensure both mother and child are in good health.

The government has a Janani Suraksha Yojana(JSY) to deal with issues involved in pregnancy and child care. It is a centrally sponsored scheme aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality rates, and increase institutional deliveries in below poverty line (BPL) families. The JSY, which falls under the overall umbrella of National Rural Health Mission, covers all pregnant women belonging to households below the poverty line, above 19 years of age and up to two live births.

The JSY, launched in 2003, modifies the existing National Maternity Benefit Scheme or NMBS. While the NMBS was linked to provision of better diet for pregnant women from BPL families, the JSY integrates the cash assistance with antenatal care during pregnancy period, institutional care during delivery and immediate post-partum period in a health centre by establishing a system of coordinated care by field level health worker.

Neonatal Healthcare

To prevent infant mortality and secure good health of the new mother, neo-natal healthcare becomes very important. The Government’s commitment to this goal is reflected in the Constitution (External website that opens in a new window) and the Tenth Five-Year Plan (External website that opens in a new window), as well as its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (External website that opens in a new window). Transforming this commitment into action will ensure that each and every child reaches his or her full potential. UNICEF (External website that opens in a new window) has given its support to the government’s Reproductive and Child Health II (External website that opens in a new window) (RCH II) and National Rural Health Programme (NRHM) emphasizes the launch of a new child health package, known as the Integrated Management of Newborn and Childhood Illness (External website that opens in a new window) (IMNCI).

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on:10-02-2011