Prenatal Health

M. Anne George and Mary H. George

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online February 2011 | | DOI:
Prenatal Health


Maternal and prenatal health covers a spectrum of topics, including nutrition, adequate health care, and risks caused by environmental exposures; alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; maternal stress; maternal diseases; and many other health issues, such as maternal mental health. Both maternal and fetal death, including stillbirths, is an enormous burden. In some countries a strong emphasis is placed on policy and practice initiatives to reduce maternal and newborn mortality because complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for both mother and child in developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1,500 women die daily due to complications in pregnancy or childbirth and that 10,000 babies are born dead or die in the first month of life. In these countries, malnutrition is a major contributor to women’s preventable morbidity and preventable mortality and has considerable outcomes for the developing fetus. Elsewhere in the world, where maternal and fetal death rates are lower, long-term consequences of maternal and fetal stressors, resulting from poor nutrition, teratogens, and maternal disease are the major concern. This has led to considerable research and development of best-practice guidelines that focus on maternal behaviors and conditions, prenatal environmental exposures, including prenatal alcohol and tobacco exposure, and treatment of preexisting conditions, such as depression. Some issues, such as HIV/AIDS and nutrition, affect maternal and prenatal health throughout the world, but to differing degrees.

Article.  9011 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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