Pregnancy is a time for excitement and preparations for a new phase in life. This phase especially in India has a house with high energy levels. The household is abuzz with family members and friends pampering the expectant mother, giving her advice. In marginalised/low-income families, it’s a community affair.
The pandemic, however, has rained on all these plans, leaving couples from urban India to adapt to the digital world in a quiet home. Meanwhile, pregnant women from marginalised communities are left to fend for themselves. They have no access to healthcare and nutrition as they struggle to make ends meet.
With multiple lockdowns and focus on Covid-19 cases, routine and other critical health services have been crippled. Those who can afford private standalone maternity hospitals are in a better position.
The number of stillbirths and deaths of pregnant women have increased during the pandemic especially in the second wave as women from marginalised communities aren’t aware of the protocol leaving them in the lurch. Many have had to shuttle between hospitals trying to find medical help or try deliveries at home. Many stillbirths have been reported while women have delivered outside hospitals, on pavements and even in auto rickshaws. These women share their stories.