Maternal health encompasses the health of women in the childbearing years, including those in the pre-pregnancy period, those who are pregnancy, and those who are caring for young children. The effect of pregnancy and childbirth on women is an important indicator of their health. Pregnancy and delivery can lead to serious health problems. According to World Health Organization report; each year an estimated 1200 women in the USA suffer complications during pregnancy or childbirth that prove fatal and 60 000 suffer complications that are near-fatal. An infant health depends on many factors, which include the mother’s health and her behavior prior to and during pregnancy, genetic characteristics, her level of prenatal care, the quality of her delivery, and the infant’s environment after birth. The infant’s environment includes not only the home and family environment, but also the availability of essential medical services such as a postnatal physical examination, regular visits to a physician, and the appropriate immunizations.
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Clara is 18 years old and lives in a small town of about 1,600 people in Texas. The town residents mostly rely on a larger city nearby for shopping, entertainment, and health care. Clara recently graduated from high school. She had dated John for the past 2 years, but there was never any talk about marriage. Right before graduation, she learned that she was pregnant. At the end of the fall, when she was completing her seventh month of pregnancy, she went into premature labor and was rushed in an ambulance to the emergency room of the hospital in the nearby city. She gave birth to a premature baby. While she was in recovery, doctors determined that Clara’s baby was not only premature, but also appeared to be having other “developmental abnormalities.” When asked whether she had received any prenatal care, Clara replied, “No, I couldn’t afford it; besides, I didn’t know where to go to get help.”
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