Pregnancy is by far the most beautiful experience for any women. It is extremely important for women to receive proper care during this time so as to ensure that the child born is fit and healthy. Shelja from Rajghatta, Rural Bangalore got married as soon as she turned 18. A month into the marriage, she conceived and was pregnant with her first child, a daughter.
Young and naïve, Shelja had no clue about the special care that a woman needs to take during this period. Her mother and mother-in-law both lived in a far-off village so there was no one to advise her on the best dietary practice that she should follow. Also, she had no idea about the benefits that the government provides for pregnant women so she took no supplements and had no medical care during this time.
Her daughter Radha was home-born, the child was underweight and had anemia. The parents took the child to the hospital is the nearby village for examination. There the baby was kept under observation for three days before discharge. The doctors explained Shelja about the care she should have taken during her pregnancy. Learning from her experience, once Radha’s health was restored, and she turned 9 months old, Shelja actively became part of the Mother’s Meeting group in Rajghatta.
Bal Raksha Bharat through its project Early Childhood Care and Education is reaching out to young mothers like Shelja. Our cluster coordinators who are part of this monthly meeting explain young mothers about healthy dietary practices, mandatory immunization, nutrition supplements and activities that they should take up to ensure proper brain development of their children in the initial growing years. All this helped Shelja ensure better care and development for Radha.
Shelja was also made to understand the importance of keeping an apt age gap of minimum three years between two children, she went home and explained the same to her husband. The couple understood this and it was only after Radha turned 3, they planned their second child. During this pregnancy Shelja was a regular at the mother’s meetings, our cluster coordinator explained her about the diet she should take to ensure proper nutrition for herself and her child, which fruits and vegetables are important to consume. She ensures that Shelja visits the local health care center for her Iron and Calcium supplements and is linked to the governed run scheme for pregnant women.