IntroductionThere are numerous anxieties about the health of a mother, especially during pregnancy. Indeed, what a mother eats during pregnancy can have either positive or negative effects on the health of the child. The reason for this is that, during the gestation period, there is the need for the foetus to develop into a fully formed human being hence the need for different foods and nutrients. A fascinating thing in life is the capacity of mothers’ bodies to create the necessary conditions for the growth of the children from conception to delivery.
There is, therefore, the need for the women of childbearing age to have the necessary nutrients in sufficient quantities to enable them to accomplish this task. Among the important factors that affect the health of a child is the health of the mother before pregnancy. Apart from ensuring that a woman remains healthy throughout her lifetime, keeping a healthy diet is important in ensuring that the body is adequately prepared for pregnancy. In many cases, the pregnancy period of women is commonly viewed conventionally without considering the health status of the women before pregnancy.
However, with reference to the World Health Organization, this kind of approach is limiting because several factors before pregnancy can also contribute to the overall health and development of the infant. The organization proposes the life course approach that follows a woman from her own conception to death, as well as the factors that have affected her health during development. The nutritional status of women is, therefore, critical before pregnancies. In many instances, health practitioners advise that women preparing to get pregnant should visit clinics for nutritional check -ups.
Poor nutrition and under nutrition before pregnancy are some of the factors that contribute to the increased levels of maternal deaths. In other cases, poor nutrition causes a rise in the numbers of stillbirths, pre-term births as well as the birth of low weight babies, which is a major problem in most health institutions. Also, poor nutritional practises before pregnancy is a major contributor to such health risks as overweight and obesity, adversely affecting both infant and maternal health (Tharpe et al. , 2013, p. 437). Factors Influencing Maternal HealthFor women preparing to be mothers, there are a number of things that must be considered to ensure that the child health remains unaffected throughout the childhood and developmental stages.
One of the factors that influence maternal health is genetics. This may have adverse effects on the baby depending on the genetic composition of the parents. Some of the genetic conditions that may be found in a population include; Down’s syndrome, Tay-Sac’s disease, haemophilia among others. Before considering to have a child, it is important that a thorough family history is dug to identify the genetic risks that may occur, genetic counselling, carrier screening and testing and treatment of the genetic conditions should be done. Another factor that can affect the health of a woman before pregnancy and hence the health of the child during pregnancy is exposure to environmental conditions.
Exposure of a woman to environmental hazards before pregnancy can have adverse effects on the child. For instance, exposure to radiations in both the workplaces and during medication can have far- fetched consequences on women of childbearing age hence on their children.
Other environmental hazards such as lead and mercury exposure can also affect the health of the children that are born. It is, therefore, important that the women planning to have children be exposed to knowledge about environmental hazards and how to protect themselves from such.