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Maternal undernutrition: A mother’s story

avatar kpritchard

Farida, a 23 year old Bangladeshi woman, lives with her husband and in-laws in the Bansbari village of Sreepur Upazila (sub-district) near Dhaka. Like many women in rural Bangladesh, Farida is a housewife. Married at the age of 17, Farida became pregnant within a year. During her pregnancy, Farida had no access to skilled prenatal care or education. Instead, she took tabij (amulet) and pani pora (chanted water) for minor problems. She went into labor prematurely at home, and was devastated when her baby died within a half hour of delivery.

Farida and child

Two years later, Farida became pregnant again. During this pregnancy, she received limited medical attention, but only when she was very ill. Sadly, Farida’s baby was stillborn.

Several months later, Farida had the good fortune of meeting Nurunnahar, a Community Nutrition Worker of Plan Bangladesh’s partner organization Prankteek. After learning Farida’s history, Nurunnahar encouraged her to attend Plan’s nutritional information sessions. At these sessions, Farida learned about the importance of prenatal care, a nutritious diet and proper rest during pregnancy. The lessons learned in the nutrition sessions were complemented by regular household visits with Nurunnahar, during which Farida could consult with her on questions or concerns.

When Farida became pregnant for a third time, she went to medical centers near her home for regular prenatal visits. At the time of delivery, Farida went to a hospital, where she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She breastfed after delivery, and continued exclusive breastfeeding until her son was six months old. Now 17 months old, Farida’s son is happy, healthy and keeps her very busy! Farida is thankful for her son, and wants others to be able to have the same opportunities for care that she did. “I have lost my first two children being ignorant,” she said. “I don’t want any other mother to have the same experience. I am grateful to Nurunnahar.”

Plan International