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Improving #maternalhealth: Addressing the Risk Factors Predisposing Mothers to Preterm Birth

The #MaternalMonday campaign of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has canvassed the need to address risk factors that predispose mothers to preterm births. Preterm birth is one of the leading causes of under-five5 child mortality and it is responsible for an estimated 950,000 deaths in 2015. Fortunately, preterm births are mainly preventable and, matched with appropriate management/interventions of preterm births, neonatal mortality will drop.

Some risk factors for prematurity-associated deaths include but are not limited to the following: lack of warmth, inadequate breastfeeding support, lack of basic care for infections, breathing difficulties and weak health systems. Most preterm births occur spontaneously, however some preterm births occur due to early induction of labor or caesarean births, multiple pregnancies, infections and chronic conditions; such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Preterm births are preventable by implementing feasible and cost-effective interventions such as: early access to antenatal care; screening for diagnosis and treatment of infections such as STI and HIV; providing women and young girls with information on nutrition and healthy lifestyles; targeting women at increased risk of preterm births, such as women with previous history of preterm delivery, high blood pressure, diabetes, and women with multiple births; and incorporating the recent WHO guidance on interventions that improve preterm birth outcomes.

#MaternalMonday, the popular weekly information campaign established by Her Excellency, Mrs Toyin Saraki's Wellbeing Foundation Africa seeks to empower midwives, mothers and their newborns through demand creation for birth-preparedness, reducing the scourge of preventable maternal, newborn and child mortality. Mrs Saraki, the Newborn Champion for Save The Children Nigeria, also serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives.

Signed: Communications The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Email: Web:

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