Pregnant women in Idlib face abortion

A pregnant woman at SAMS Maternity Hospital in northwestern Idlib region - September 2022 (Enab Baladi / Huda al-Kulaib)

A pregnant woman at SAMS Maternity Hospital in northwestern Idlib region - September 2022 (Enab Baladi / Huda al-Kulaib)


Idlib – Huda al-Kulaib

After discovering that she was infected with toxoplasmosis, the 27-year-old Rahaf al-Riya, who lives in the IDP Sarmada camps in the northern Idlib region, fears that she will lose her fetus after five months of pregnancy.

Rahaf, a displaced woman from the village of Babila in the southern countryside of Idlib, discovered the infection after noticing a weakness in the movement of the fetus, which was almost non-existent, and when conducting medical tests, it was found that she had the disease that the doctor had to treat with medicines until a few weeks before birth.

Rahaf told Enab Baladi that she had not visited a gynecologist since the beginning of her pregnancy, which delayed the discovery that she was infected with the parasite of pregnancy, or what is known as toxoplasmosis.

Medicines for the disease are expensive and not available in all pharmacies, while Rahaf complains of poor financial condition and the remoteness of her camp from the treatment centers, but she is obliged to continue treatment anyway, as she hopes that her fetus will be born healthy and peaceful despite all the challenges.

Diseases attack

Pregnant women in the areas of Idlib and northwestern Syria are vulnerable to gynecological diseases amid deteriorating health care due to the lack of specialized personnel, medicines, and nutritional supplements.

As well as the severe overcrowding in the specialized centers and the difficulty of accessing them due to the lack of transportation, all in conjunction with the decline in support by various humanitarian and medical organizations.

The cost of pregnancy is “high”

Fadwa al-Hassoun, 31, did not complete her pregnancy, as she lost her fetus in her sixth month due to her high gestational diabetes rate, without knowing that she had gestational diabetes, which suddenly appeared.

Fadwa told Enab Baladi that she did not suffer from any diseases prior to pregnancy but that she contracted gestational diabetes without being able to find out about the matter before she miscarried for this reason.

“Revising the health center is very stressful, and I have to travel a long distance to reach it, and transportation here is not available, and the cost is high,” she added.

Fadwa asserts that “the worry of transportation remains less than the worry of waiting in the center, which often takes hours, in addition to the worry of securing medicines and supplements.”

And she continued, “In the past, thinking about how to prepare to receive the newborn with the most beautiful rituals and preparations was the biggest care for the pregnant woman and her family, but today, the birth of a healthy newborn in the midst of poverty and displacement is the most important concern for pregnant women,” according to her expression.

“He was born with incomplete lungs despite the full term of pregnancy.” This was the reason behind the death of the fetus of Jumana al-Bayour, 32, who suffered very difficult pregnancy conditions in the Deir Hassan camps, where medical services for pregnant women are lacking.

During her pregnancy, Jumana suffered several complications after contracting the Covid-19 virus and malnutrition, which is the reason behind the many deformities that affected her fetus before his death, without being able to monitor her pregnancy and protect her fetus amid the complex conditions she experienced in the northern IDP Idlib camps.

Lack of care increases miscarriage rates

One of the most prominent causes of miscarriage and pregnancy problems in recent times is pregnant women’s bleeding, gestational hypertension, toxoplasmosis, obstructed labor, anemia, high arterial tension, gestational diabetes, and diseases related to a pregnant woman’s immune deficiency such as urogenital infections, the gynecologist Raeda al-Sheikh told Enab Baladi.

There are also disorders that are not directly related to pregnancy, some of which increase the risk of problems for pregnant women or the fetus, such as disorders that cause high fevers, infections, and disorders that require surgery, she added.

The gynecologist called on all pregnant women not to underestimate pregnancy diseases, to work to obtain appropriate medical care, to conduct continuous monitoring of the pregnancy period from its inception to the moment of birth, and to conduct prenatal diagnostic tests based on the characteristics of each woman and each pregnancy, and to apply ultrasound high-resolution and 3D ultrasound, also known as 3D and 4D ultrasound, for early detection of fetal abnormalities and common diseases.

In the same context, Mona al-Shaarawy, 28, who is one of the nutrition programs team and monitors the conditions of pregnant women in the IDP camps, said that “it was noted that malnutrition cases increased among pregnant women in the camps, due to displacement, the increase in poverty, and the lack of proper follow-up of their health conditions.”

Al-Shaarawy noted the need to take into account the lack of health centers and medical service points for pregnant women in the camps at a time when it is difficult for many pregnant women to access reproductive health services far from their areas due to poverty and poor financial conditions, which threatens their health and the health of their fetuses.

More than 440,000 pregnant women in Idlib

The number of pregnant women who completed four visits to a number of health facilities in Idlib during the past six months reached 443,000, while the number of pregnant women who visited health facilities only once reached 253,000, according to Batoul al-Kheder, reproductive health supervisor in the Health Directorate of Idlib.

Al-Kheder said that there is no very accurate number of pregnant women in Idlib, but she gave numbers and birth rates that Enab Baladi cannot verify, as she indicates that the number of births during the past six months in the records of the Idlib Health Directorate reached 233,104, including 42,842 Cesarean deliveries.

Al-Kheder stressed that the role of the Health Directorate in Idlib governorate is an administrative one in terms of organizing and distributing health services according to the existing need, in addition to its supervisory role over the quality of services provided.

The health facilities in the northern Idlib region are monitoring the pregnant woman, postpartum follow-up, prescribing vitamins and vaccinations necessary for the woman and the child, free natural and cesarean delivery in health facilities, family planning services, and providing the appropriate contraceptive for the pregnant woman, said the reproductive health supervisor in the Health Directorate of Idlib.


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