After maternal health issues, mums bear smiles

LEFT: Asmau Suleiman being taken into the operating room in this specially constructed wheelchair RIGHT: Radiya being treated for pre-eclampsia. PHOTOS: Adie Vanessa Offiong

Aisha Suleiman, 32, had just been delivered of her seventh child. She has a history of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) where she suffers uncontrolled bleeding after each of her pregnancies. This time, it took three pints of blood to stabilise her.
At the Yusuf Dantsoho Memorial Hospital, Kaduna, she was placed her on a special diet of mostly vegetable and protein and advised against hot baths, which could lead to a rise in her blood pressure. She was also advised to avoid kunu kanwa (gruel made with some potash) and instead, drink a lot of tea with milk.
A matron educated her on the risk of getting pregnant again and suffering PPH. She also encouraged her to dialogue with her husband on the matter.
Although it scares her to get pregnant again, Aisha, now back to life and in good health, is finding it difficult to accept any family planning methods. She is worried her husband might decide to start spending more time with his other wife, who may be willing to give him more children.
Even though she said she understood the advice the matron gave her and the risks getting pregnant again poses, she insisted that, “It all depends on the dynamics at home and what my husband wants, especially because, for me, it is important to keep him happy,” she said with a sheepish smile.
It was the first pregnancy for the 23-year-old Radiya Ahmed Rufai. Her hands, which clenched the bed sheet tightly, and the tense crises on her forehead, were more expressive of her agony than her subtle, almost soundless wincing, typical of a northern Nigerian woman about to put to bed.
It is generally believed that they are taught to be brave during labour and not scream out from the pains.
The hospital staff swiftly rallied around her to treat her pre-eclampsia and prevent her from falling into eclampsia - a condition which causes high blood pressure and seizures during pregnancy.
Dr. Hassan Shuaibu, a general practitioner in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, said, “She was referred from another hospital with nothing to show that she was having those treatments (for preeclampsia).
"It was here we found out she had high blood pressure, and when we did the urinalysis, her protein was two pluses.”
Radiya’s labour progression also came with increased blood pressure levels. The situation was further compounded when her baby began to release meconium (infant stool in the amniotic fluid), indicating that it was distressed.

Release Date: 
Sunday, April 23, 2017