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Journal Article

Dec 6, 2023

Antenatal Care (ANC) | Postpartum

Vulnerabilities and reparative strategies during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period: moving from rhetoric to action


Summary: Maternal outcomes throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period are influenced by interlinked and interdependent vulnerabilities. A comprehensive understanding of how various threats and barriers affect maternal and perinatal health is critical to plan, evaluate and improve maternal health programmes. This paper builds on the introductory paper of the Series on the determinants of maternal health by assessing vulnerabilities during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period. We synthesise and present the concept of vulnerability in pregnancy and childbirth, and map vulnerability attributes and their dynamic influence on maternal outcomes in early and late pregnancy and during childbirth and the postnatal period, with a particular focus on low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We summarise existing literature and present the evidence on the effects of various reparative strategies to improve pregnancy and childbirth outcomes. Lastly, we discuss the implications of the identified vulnerability attributes and reparative strategies for the efforts of policymakers, healthcare professionals, and researchers working towards improving outcomes for women and birthing people in LMICs.