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INAYThe National Nutrition Council (NNC) Caraga joins in the promotion of Safe Motherhood Week pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 200, s. 2002, declaring the second week of May of every year as “Safe Motherhood Week” to promote maternal health and nutrition in the country through preventive and promotive activities as well as addressing avoidable factors that can cause death during pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum. In the Philippines, some improvement in delivery care was indicated in the preliminary results of National Demographic and Health Survey 2014 (NDHS). In particular, the findings unveil an increase in facility-based deliveries and in births delivered by health professionals. However, there is still a need to further improve and strengthen the implementation of the National Safe Motherhood Program by the Department of Health. Considering these factors, the Department of Health with its Administrative Order No. 2008-0029 or the Implementing Health Reforms for Rapid reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality was formulated to guide the development, implementation and evaluation of various programs aimed at women, mothers and children, with the ultimate goal of rapidly reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in the country.

Within this mandate, minimum standard services are pre-pregnancy services; antennal care; proper care during delivery; and postpartum and postnatal care.

Another essential element is the practice of the “First Embrace” (Unang Yakap) which is the first step to a healthy start for the baby and is highly encouraged by the World Health Organization. Immediately after a mother gives birth, the baby is thoroughly dried and placed on the mother to ensure skin-to-skin contact between mom and child. Then the chord is clamped after pulsations stop and cut with a sterile instrument. Finally, the mother is encouraged to breastfeed her child for the first time. These practices along with exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months have been proven to dramatically improve the survival and health of newborn babies.

Dietary recommendation also plays an important role in maintaining the overall health of our mothers. Recommended Nutrient Intakes per Day for macronutrients includes additional 300 kcal for a pregnant woman and an additional 500 kcal for a lactating woman. These kilocalories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains. Also, additional intakes of micronutrients such as Vitamin A, C, B-complex, Iron, and Iodine. If requirements are not met by the usual diet alone. Intake of iron-rich and iron-fortified foods and the use of supplements are recommended, if necessary.

Safe Motherhood Week is a reminder to families not only to look after the welfare of newborn babies but also a reminder for mothers to look after themselves.

With proper care and services, adequate diet, and continuous support from families may all moms achieve safe motherhood! #PNFPMAFernandez

References:

Department of Health Administrative Order No. 2008-0029. Implementing Health Reforms for Rapid Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality.

Food and Nutrition Research Institute. (2015), Philippine Dietary Reference Intake

PSA. (2014). Six in Ten Births Are Delivered in a Health Facility (Preliminary Results from the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey). https://psa.gov.ph/content/six-ten-births-are-delivered-health-facility-preliminary-results-2013-national-demographic#:~:text=Six%20in%20Ten%20Births%20Are,Health%20Survey)%20%7C%20Philippine%20Statistics%20Authority

World Health Organization. (2017). Safe Motherhood Week. https://www.who.int/philippines/news/feature-stories/detail/safe-motherhood-week