The statistics related to pregnancy and its outcomes are staggering: annually, an estimated 250000-280000 women die during childbirth. Unfortunately, a large number of women receive little or no care during or before pregnancy. At a period of critical vulnerability, interventions can be effectively delivered to improve the health of women and their newborns and also to make their pregnancy safe. This paper reviews the interventions that are most effective during preconception and pregnancy period and synergistically improve maternal and neonatal outcomes. Among pre-pregnancy interventions, family planning and advocating pregnancies at appropriate intervals; prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections including HIV; and peri-conceptual folic-acid supplementation have shown significant impact on reducing maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. During pregnancy, interventions including antenatal care visit model; iron and folic acid supplementation; tetanus Immunisation; prevention and management of malaria; prevention and management of HIV and PMTCT; calcium for hypertension; anti-Platelet agents (low dose aspirin) for prevention of Pre-eclampsia; anti-hypertensives for treating severe hypertension; management of pregnancy-induced hypertension/eclampsia; external cephalic version for breech presentation at term (>36 weeks); management of preterm, premature rupture of membranes; management of unintended pregnancy; and home visits for women and children across the continuum of care have shown maximum impact on reducing the burden of maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. All of the interventions summarized in this paper have the potential to improve maternal mortality rates and also contribute to better health care practices during preconception and periconception period.
- essential interventions