Bhubaneswar: Poor sanitation practices, such as open defecation, are affecting pregnancy outcomes of Indian women, especially premature birth, says a study.
The research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, studied pregnancy outcomes in two rural areas of Odisha.
Bijaya K. Padhi from the Asian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar, and colleagues enrolled 670 women during the first trimester of their pregnancy, recorded information about toilet access and sanitation practices for each woman at enrollment, and followed them through pregnancy until birth.
They found that compared with women who used a latrine, women who defecated in the open had a significantly greater risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes overall and preterm birth, but not low birth weight.
Although the researchers adjusted for numerous confounding factors in their analysis, including poverty, social class, and caste, the women who defecated in the open may have shared other unknown characteristics that were actually responsible for their increased risk of an adverse pregnancy outcome.
“This study indicates that in the context of maternal and child health prevention research, sanitation is an important dimension of women’s health and distinct from social class and caste,” said senior study author Pinaki Panigrahi from the University of Nebraska in the US.
Most Pregnant Women still rely on their mothers for emotional support and guidance — many weighing mother’s advice as equal to or even over medical recommendation, a new study suggests.
For the study, published in the journal Reproduction, the research team from University of Cincinnati, investigated the complexities within mother-daughter dynamics during pregnancy in relation to potentially harmful advice from many pregnancy guidebooks, looking specifically at the emotional and health care risks to certain groups.
The researchers performed in-depth interviews with pregnant women and their mothers while following the pregnant women for nine months.
“I found that most pregnancy self-help books, best known for their month-by-month guidance on fetal development and lifestyle coaching, are also empathic about following medical advice exclusively over what they consider the outdated advice of a mother or friend,” said study researcher Danielle Bessett from University of Cincinnati.
“This advice is limited and can result in an increased level of stress and discomfort for some soon-to-be moms,” Bessett added.
While looking at two groups — pregnant women with at least a bachelor’s degree and women with no college or higher education — Bessett found that all pregnant women took steps to have a healthy pregnancy.
But while the researcher identified a pervasive link to a mother’s influence on her daughter’s health and well-being in both groups, it was especially strong for minorities and women with less than a college degree who had little trust in their medical personnel.
Women with higher education engaged with their mothers in ways much more similar to how they are framed in common self-help books.
“Self-help books are giving us a really terrible picture of soon-to-be grandmothers that pregnant women themselves don’t really fully endorse regardless of who they are,” said Bessett.
“I argue that books are strictly endorsing medical guidance exclusively and that’s not the only place where women are getting their information,” Besset added.
While highly educated women engaged with their mothers in a more limited way, women with lower education engaged with their mothers more in-depth about everything and ranked their mothers as the most valuable source of information, the study said.
The study also found that women with higher education still found a great value in what their mothers could tell them about how their bodies would be changing and were a valuable source for details related to their familial or genetic inheritance — information that only their mothers could contribute.
“One of the most distinctive differences between the two groups showed how much more women with higher education valued how scientific information and modern technology could contribute to a healthy pregnancy,” said Bessett. (IANS)