Family planning can save lives

KLANG - Families should space out the delivery of their children to bring down the mortality rate.

This is because the risk of maternal deaths doubles for women who have been pregnant at least five times before their fatal delivery.

The figure is based on an enquiry into maternal deaths conducted by the Health Ministry

Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah obstetrics and gynaecology department head Dr Mohamad Farouk Abdullah who revealed this, said pregnancies should be at an optimal time to allow mothers to recuperate.

"Proper family planning will result in the reduction of unwanted pregnancies and miscarriages.

"If we want to reduce the maternal mortality rate to 11 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015, we have to apply family planning," he said after the launch of the hospital's family planning month themed "Pregnant by Choice, Not by Chance or Force."

Currently, an average of 26.5 mothers die during labour for every 100,000 live births and the figure has not changed much over the past 10 years.

Selangor health department director Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said apart from the lack of family planning, women with health problems such as heart disease also contribute to the mortality rate.

"Family planning is seen as one of the strategies to reduce maternal deaths.

"Married couples should space out pregnancies to make sure mothers have time to recuperate and regain their strength before the next delivery," he said.

He added that the risk of post-partum hemorrhage or bleeding after delivery will also be lowered if mothers had fully recovered from their previous delivery.

On another matter, Dr Azman said the ministry was in talks with religious bodies to curb social health problems such as baby dumping.

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