HEALTH-PAKISTAN: Spacing Births for Mother and Child
Family planning(FP) in Pakistan is taking a new direction. The new emphasis is not on the number of pregnancies that a woman should have, but on the spacing of those pregnancies. Advice being given at the FP clinics is to aim for at least a three year gap between babies. This gives the mother's body time to recover from the rigors of pregnancy and to breastfeed her baby, making both healthier.
KARACHI, Mar 25 (IPS) - Health experts in Pakistan are now concentrating on getting women from all strata of society to space births.
''Birth spacing gives the woman time and opportunity to recover from the nutritional deficiency caused by repeated pregnancies. Studies show that short birth intervals of less than 24 months increase the risk of neonatal mortality,’’ says Dr. Sadiqua Jafarey, president of the National Committee for Maternal and Neonatal Health.
New research points to the benefits of having the first child late and spacing the next child until after three to five years. Curiously, it is women from the less affluent sections who are keen to follow these prescriptions.
Major hurdles towards promoting birth spacing include social norms such as son preference and fear of using modern contraceptives. ‘’Often, the girl has to prove that she is fertile,’’ said Ahmed. ’
Accoridng to the specialist there was a need in Pakistan to present birth spacing as a survival strategy for the child as well as the mother.