"Saving the mother and baby at all costs should be top priority" said Suchitra Pandit, vice-chairperson, Indian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ICOG)

Obstetricians and healthcare workers must pull out all stops in bringing down pregnancy related deaths was the primary objective of the maternal and perinatal health workshop sponsored by Asia Oceania Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and annual conference of Tiruchi Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society (TRIOGS) that concluded here on Sunday.

Saving the mother and baby at all costs should be top priority, Suchitra Pandit, vice-chairperson, Indian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ICOG) told The Hindu.

Maternal mortality rates in Tamil Nadu and Kerala are relatively better than the rest of India and other states must take their cue from them, she felt. Active management of third term of labour, identifying high-risk patients, advising birthing in tertiary care centres, renewing stock of drugs in health centres were vital steps to be taken by healthcare professionals to reduce maternal deaths, she outlined.

Referring women with complications of pregnancy to tertiary care or higher treating centres in time was crucial in bringing down maternal mortality. The obstetrician attending the patient is the best judge of the appropriate medical or surgical management to be taken, and constant updating of knowledge is essential. Speakers at the workshop have laid heavy emphasis on issues like correcting haemoglobin count in pregnant women during the antenatal period as a precautionary measure against anaemia related maternal death.

The workshop enlightened doctors on the best ways of managing the five major causes of maternal mortality or the five Ps- preterm labour complications like premature leaking of amniotic fluid; pregnancy induced hypertension, peri partum infections, post partum haemorrhage and placenta previa, a condition where the placenta covers the opening of the cervix. While most causes can be prevented, the final condition, cannot be avoided but can be effectively managed. The cause that raised much concern was post partum haemorrhage or blood loss after delivery, attributed to 60 percent of maternal deaths.

Foetal loss right from stages of conception to delivery was the focus of the conference on Sunday focussed on foetal loss right from conception of the foetus to delivery. Causes of the foetus in each of the trimesters of the pregnancy and effective preventive solutions were discussed. Antenatal check list, immunisation in pregnancy, rubella prevention, pregnancy complicated by fibroids, anti epileptic drugs were dwelt upon.

A panel discussion later in the day saw obstetricians debating management of diabetes in pregnant women. The maternal death scenario in the city was presented by Dr. Premavathi Prabhu Ilango.

Maternal mortality must be addressed at the grassroots for which training of health care workers at primary health care centres is fundamental. But better support from government in pushing workers to attend such workshops can help them identify causes of maternal deaths and discuss best ways of resolving them, felt organisers. The workshop managed to get around 50 health care professionals from peripheral areas.

The annual conference was inaugurated by M.S.Ashraf, president, Tamil Nadu Medical Council. On Saturday, K.Kalaiselvi, Dean, SRM Medical College, inaugurated the workshop.

Kurian Joseph, president elect, AOFOG released the journal. The workshop titled ‘Thayumanuvars today’ was supported Federation of Gynaecological Societies of India and All-Tamil Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.