Two gynaecologists on Thursday urged women to adopt proper child-birth spacing to reduce maternal and child mortality rates.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate telephone interviews that inadequate child spacing could negatively affect the health of children and mothers as well as the child’s future successes.
Dr Grace Ebosele, a Consultant Gynaecologist at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City in Edo, described child spacing as an intervention to help women and families delay or space their pregnancies.
According to her, child spacing can also help mothers to achieve the healthiest outcome for themselves, the newborn infants, and children.
She said this should be within the context of free and informed choice, taking into account fertility intentions and desired family size.
Ebosele said that evidence had shown that birth-to-pregnancy intervals of at least two years, had been associated with reduced risk of neonatal and perinatal mortality rates and preterm deliveries.
The consultant gynaecologist said that two-and-a–half years to three years’ space intervals between births are usually the best for the well being of the mother and her children.
“Studies have shown that if couples space birth by between two years and three years, the death rate of children under the age of five will definitely drop.
“ It helps to decrease stunting or underweight, allows children and mothers to experience the benefits of optimal breastfeeding for two years.
“Planning enough time in-between pregnancies increases the chances of a good outcome for the mother and each of her babies as well as increases the chances of healthy mothers and surviving children.
“It also allows parents to devote more time to each child in the early years, easing pressures on the family’s finances and giving parents more time for other activities than child bearing alone, “she said.
Also, Dr Rotimi Agboola, another gynaecologist said that the media and medical practitioners have a major role to play in educating parents on the importance of family planning and child spacing.
Agboola, a member of staff of Life Help Hospital, Awka, also urged government at all levels to fund the provisions of modern contraceptives.
He also said that would reduce the prevalence rate by at least 20 per cent across the country, especially, among the urban poor.
“ I am confident that if parents become knowledgeable enough to access family planning services in the health centres, they will adequately produce the number of children they can cater for.
“It will also go a long way in reducing maternal and child mortality rates to the barest minimum as well as promote safe motherhood, “ he said.
According to the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS, 2018), the under-five mortality rate in Nigeria is 132 per 1,000 live births meaning that one in eight Nigerian children never reached the age of five.
Infant deaths, which account for half of child mortality have declined from 87 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 67 per 1,000 live births in 2018. (NAN)