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Every pregnant woman should get health care at least 8 times

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new recommendations to improve quality of antenatal care in order to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience.

WHO’s new antenatal care model increases the minimum number of contacts a pregnant woman has with health providers throughout her pregnancy from four to eight.

A higher frequency of antenatal contacts by women and adolescent girls increases opportunities to detect and manage potential problems. A minimum of eight contacts for antenatal care can reduce perinatal deaths by up to 8 per 1000 births when compared to a minimum of four visits.

WHO recommends pregnant women to have their first contact in the first 12 weeks’ gestation, with subsequent contacts taking place at 20, 26, 30, 34, 36, 38 and 40 weeks’ gestation.

WHO’s recommendations include that every pregnant woman should get daily iron and folic acid pills to prevent anemia, sepsis and premature birth and get blood-sugar testing to detect diabetes.

The new guidelines contain 49 recommendations that outline what care pregnant women should receive at each of the contacts with the health system.

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