WHO releases new recommendations for pregnant women

(Photo: WKRN)

GENEVA (CNN/WCMH) — The World Health Organization has issued new recommendations to improve the quality of care pregnant women receive in order to lower the risk of complications and stillbirths.

The WHO recommends that pregnant women receive health care services at least eight times throughout the course of their pregnancies. Five of those visits should take place in the last three months of pregnancy. The agency previously recommended just four visits.

“More and better quality contacts between all women and their health providers throughout pregnancy will facilitate the uptake of preventative measures, timely detection of risks, reduces complications and addresses health inequalities,” said Dr. Anthony Costello, the director of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health at the WHO.

The WHO estimates that almost 300,000 women worldwide die during pregnancy or childbirth and that as many as 6 million infants die within the first month of their lives. Experts say that these deaths could be prevented with routine care throughout the pregnancy with trained health care workers.