The number of childbirths registered in public and private hospitals between March and November 2019 stood at 111,411. During the same period in 2020, this dropped to 91,618; the lowest institutional child deliveries in March and April. (Pic for representation)
The number of childbirths registered in public and private hospitals between March and November 2019 stood at 111,411. During the same period in 2020, this dropped to 91,618; the lowest institutional child deliveries in March and April. (Pic for representation)

Amid Covid-19 pandemic, hospital births fall by 18% in Mumbai

According to data shared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), institutional deliveries dropped by almost 18% between March and November 2020 compared to the same period in 2019
By Rupsa Chakraborty, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 13, 2021 06:15 PM IST

At 3am on May 12, 2020, Ishita Koli, a resident of a 170 sq ft chawl in South Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazaar, went into labour and started to bleed. With all nearby nursing homes closed, Sunil Mohan, her 32-year-old husband decided to rush her to Prince Aly Khan hospital, less than three km away in Mazagaon. But due to the lockdown, they could not find a vehicle to take here there.

“We tried calling an ambulance, but they told us that we’d have to wait for more than an hour. Private taxis were also unavailable. By 5am, my wife’s condition had deteriorated, so we decided to take the help of a midwife,” Mohan said. By 7am, the Kolis were parents to a healthy baby whom they named Rekha, delivered by a retired auxiliary nurse midwife.

Around the city, women like Ishita were forced to deliver at home on account of the lockdown and lack of access to medical facilities. Not everyone was as lucky as Ishita, who suffered blood loss and managed to get treatment at Cama Hospital (though it took five hours to find a cab that agreed to ferry her for over four times the normal fare).

According to data shared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), institutional deliveries dropped by almost 18% between March and November 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. The number of childbirths registered in public and private hospitals between March and November 2019 stood at 111,411. During the same period in 2020, this dropped to 91,618; the lowest institutional child deliveries in March and April.

“By March, thousands of women had gotten pregnant. Their deliveries were scheduled over the next nine months till November. The drop in hospital deliveries therefore doesn’t indicate a fall in the pregnancy rate during the pandemic,” said Dr Jaideep Malhotra, president, Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India.

Medical experts and doctors point towards two major reasons behind the drop in the registration of institutional deliveries in these nine months— rise in home births and mass migration during the lockdown when thousands of people lost their jobs.

Lakhs of people lost their jobs at the start of the lockdown, leading to a mass exodus of daily wage earners from Mumbai, which had, by mid-May, turned into an epicenter of the Covid-19 disease.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, sexual and reproductive health and rights took a back seat. Overnight, as a precautionary measure, tertiary care hospitals were converted into dedicated Covid care centres. During an emergency, when pregnant women were rushed to the hospital for delivery, they were referred to another hospital. In the initial stages of the pandemic, there was too much confusion among the public,” said Subarna Ghosh, co-founder, ReRight Foundation, a non-government organisation (NGO) that works for safe child births.

Health experts discourage home births because it can lead to complications and fatality. Doctors said that even though midwives are experienced in internal examination and vaginal deliveries, they may not possess the expertise — or, indeed, access to medical equipment — to deal with complications like blood pressure fluctuations, obstructed labour, and resuscitation among others.

“Home deliveries involve extended labour hours and prolonged internal examination which may increase the chances of septic foetus. Rushing to the hospital after a failed home delivery may invite further risk to the life of mother and baby. Most hospitals like us ensure complete isolation from Covid-19 patients and staffers. So, it is recommended to choose deliveries in hospitals rather than homes,” said Dr Gayatri Deshpande, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle.

But during the pandemic, as the city came to a standstill, this was not an option for pregnant women.

Society for Nutrition Education and Health Action (Sneha), an NGO that works on public health issues conducted a survey among 436 women (during their pregnancy and postpartum period) between April and August. Their findings revealed that institutional deliveries during the pandemic varied from place to place depending on the availability of healthcare facilities.

“We saw that areas with better accessibility to hospitals have recorded almost 100% institutional deliveries. Whereas, the number dropped to 75-65% in areas with fewer medical facilities,” said chief executive officer Vanessa D’Souza.

During the initial days of the pandemic when families lacked knowledge about Covid and non-Covid hospitals, the NGO received several calls seeking guidance. “We then procured a list of hospitals across Mumbai with bifurcations, and started guiding callers to their nearest hospitals for deliveries.”

Taking note of the safety of pregnant women, BMC did not convert civic-run maternity hospitals into Covid centres. In addition to lack of facilities, many pregnant women avoided giving birth at hospitals due to fear of contracting the virus.

“Though there were no reports of vertical transmission of the virus from mothers to the new-borns during delivery, pregnant women were still worried of contracting the virus in hospitals. Thus, they opted for home births with the help of experienced women or midwives,” said Malhotra.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Prices of eggs have come down, hitting poultry sales in Thane district due to bird flu. (Praful Gangurde/HT photo)
Prices of eggs have come down, hitting poultry sales in Thane district due to bird flu. (Praful Gangurde/HT photo)

Bird flu hits poultry business in Thane district; prices, consumption down

By Ankita G Menon, Thane
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:43 PM IST
The hotel industry association claimed a 15 per cent slump in business as demand for chicken dishes have reduced
Close
Dhananjay Munde. (File photo)
Dhananjay Munde. (File photo)

Mumbai: Woman withdraws plaint against Munde; Pawar says NCP stand vindicated

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 05:03 PM IST
In a letter posted on Twitter, the woman said she felt she was being used as a tool for a bigger political conspiracy and hence decided to withdraw her complaint
Close
The raids are being conducted in connection with the PMC bank scam.
The raids are being conducted in connection with the PMC bank scam.

PMC Bank fraud: ED raids 5 locations, including BVA party chief’s Mumbai office

By Vijay Kumar Yadav & Ram Parmar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 02:43 PM IST
The anti-money laundering agency is carrying out searches as part of their probe in the alleged diversion of funds from HDIL and its subsidiary companies to the Viva group companies
Close
Arnab Goswami. (HT Photo)
Arnab Goswami. (HT Photo)

Arnab Goswami chat leaks: Congress stages protests across Maharashtra

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 02:32 PM IST
In Mumbai, a protest was held outside Republic TV’s office in Lower Parel followed by a rally at Jambori Maidan in Worli. Key Congress leaders led marches in their respective districts in Maharashtra
Close
Representational image. (HT PHOTO)
Representational image. (HT PHOTO)

Mumbai: 60 cases of new Covid strain detected so far, says civic body

By Mehul R Thakkar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:03 PM IST
Over 25,000 passengers have arrived in the city from the United Kingdom (UK), Middle East, Europe or South Africa in the last month.
Close
Metro Kanjurmarg car-shed site after Bombay high court ordered a stay on the ongoing work in Mumbai, in December 2020. (HT file)
Metro Kanjurmarg car-shed site after Bombay high court ordered a stay on the ongoing work in Mumbai, in December 2020. (HT file)

Maharashtra government panel recommends Metro car-shed at Kanjurmarg

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:13 AM IST
The panel has recommended Kanjurmarg citing future expansion in the 102-acre land and integration of lines 3 and 6 with a common car-shed there
Close
A Covid-19 vaccine shot being administered in Mumbai. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
A Covid-19 vaccine shot being administered in Mumbai. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

Covid-19:Mumbai civic body aims to vaccinate over 3K healthcare workers on Day 4

By Mehul R Thakkar
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:54 AM IST
As of Wednesday, 5,251 healthcare workers had been vaccinated in Mumbai, followed by at least 10 cases of minor adverse effects post vaccination
Close
The Bombay high court had sought to know why ED could not desist from taking action against Khadse for a few days as he had already appeared before ED concerning the case. (HT FILE)
The Bombay high court had sought to know why ED could not desist from taking action against Khadse for a few days as he had already appeared before ED concerning the case. (HT FILE)

Bhosari land deal: No coercive action against NCP leader Eknath Khadse till Monday, says ED

By K A Y Dodhiya
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:48 AM IST
The controversy pertains to the purchase of a plot in Bhosari, near Pune, by Khadse’s kin for 3.75 crore, against the prevalent market rate of 30 crore
Close
Jayant Patil, however, said Sharad Pawar’s word would be the final one on the issue. (HT FILE)
Jayant Patil, however, said Sharad Pawar’s word would be the final one on the issue. (HT FILE)

Would like to be Maharashtra CM someday: State NCP chief and minister Jayant Patil

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:44 AM IST
Patil’s statement assumes significance as deputy CM and Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar is believed to be holding the second position in NCP after party chief
Close
The CM meets MPs of both the Houses of the Parliament before the parliamentary sessions to take up issues of the state.
The CM meets MPs of both the Houses of the Parliament before the parliamentary sessions to take up issues of the state.

Go beyond party lines, meet PM on Maratha quota, Belgaum issue and GST dues: Maharashtra CM to state MPs

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:53 AM IST
Thackeray said that he has plans to form committees of MPs for better coordination between the state and the Centre
Close
A healthcare worker collects the swab sample of a passenger at Dadar station on Thursday. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
A healthcare worker collects the swab sample of a passenger at Dadar station on Thursday. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Wednesday’s active Covid-19 case count was Mumbai’s lowest in 7 months

By Eeshanpriya MS
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:30 AM IST
As per data from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), none of the 24 administrative wards in the city has over 500 active cases
Close
A healthcare worker collects the swab sample of a passenger at Dadar station on Thursday. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
A healthcare worker collects the swab sample of a passenger at Dadar station on Thursday. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Tribal tehsil has higher Covid-19 positivity rate than Maharashtra

UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:25 AM IST
The failure of the administration to monitor and trace the contacts is to blame for the spread of the virus in around 13-14 villages in the district, according to health department officials
Close
A healthcare worker gets the Covid-19 vaccine shot at the BKC vaccination centre on January 16. (HT FILE)
A healthcare worker gets the Covid-19 vaccine shot at the BKC vaccination centre on January 16. (HT FILE)

Maharashtra goes past 2 million Covid-19 cases

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:19 AM IST
The state recorded 2,886 fresh cases, pushing the count to 2,000,878, as it took 132 days to go from 1 million to 2 million infections, quicker than the 187 days for the first million, breached on September 11
Close
Police have warned codial media users not to send money or share account details with people they meet online. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Police have warned codial media users not to send money or share account details with people they meet online. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Mumbai man duped of 10 lakh by a social media friend

By Vijay Kumar Yadav, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:57 AM IST
Cuffe Parade police have booked an unknown person for duping a 60-year-old man of 10
Close
 (HT FILE)
(HT FILE)

Maharashtra announces HSC, SSC examination dates

By Ankita Bhatkhande, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:57 AM IST
The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) will conduct the HSC (Class 12) examinations between April 23 and May 29, and the SSC (Class 10) examinations will be between April 29 and May 31.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP