Long–term health effects in pregnant women and babies in war-stricken countries

ByTapatrisha Das, Delhi
May 19, 2022 03:22 PM IST

From going through extreme mental trauma to undergoing violence and the risk of infections, here are a few ways in which war-stricken countries affect pregnant women and babies, driving them to life-long consequences, and often death.

The world is grappling with the sight of an ongoing war happening. War, besides the fact that it strips off peace from lives of people, also comes with a lot of long-term effects on the citizens. From health effects to adverse effects on mental health, war brings only darkness in the lives of people. However, women and children are always the bigger victims in war-stricken countries. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Rita Bakshi, Founder, RISAA IVF said, “Pregnant Women and their unborn children in war-stricken countries are particularly vulnerable to higher rates of death, disease, and mental health challenges that can persist after birth.”

Long–term health effects in pregnant women and babies in war-stricken countries(Unsplash)
Long–term health effects in pregnant women and babies in war-stricken countries(Unsplash)

She further noted down the long-term health effects that pregnant women and babies suffer in war-stricken countries. They are:

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Physical harm: War brings the risk of potential harm. Babies, sometimes lose their mother at birth and can die themselves as well. 1 out of 37 babies die in the first month after being born in such cases, and the ones who survive, have increased susceptibility to infections, and malnutrition, and are at heightened risk of death.

Pre-eclampsia: It is dangerous elevations in blood pressure during pregnancy. Merged with prenatal stress and gestational diabetes can risk the health of both the mother and the baby.

Mental trauma: In war zones, going through a pregnancy and thinking of starting a new life in the same space can cause mental trauma. This trauma, in turn affects the mother and the baby further in life. The baby, sometimes, faces low birth weight. The toxic stress of the war-stricken countries often impart life-long trauma for both.

Communicable diseases: Disruptions in food supplies, medical supplies, water supplies, and sanitation systems are some of the issues faced by people in war zones. This further leads to the risk of communicable diseases. In war zones, women often are subjected to violence – with the absence of nursing staffs and emergency care, they go through high risk of infections as well.

Pregnancy complications: Bombing, street fight, air raids are rampant in war-stricken countries. This can cause extreme prenatal stress and lead to complications in pregnancy, often leading to death.

Malnutrition: “Malnourished pregnant women run an increased risk of miscarriages and the anguish it causes, along with anemia and even death during childbirth. Malnutrition is one factor along with others such as infections, extreme fear, environmental circumstances, and a lack of vitamins,” said Rita Bakshi. She further added that malnutrition can lead to low body weight and stunted growth. This can have long-term health consequences later in life.

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    Tapatrisha is Content Producer with Hindustan Times. She covers stories related to health, relationships, and fashion.

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