Mumbai: Institutional deliveries drop sharply in city amid pandemic

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has witnessed almost an 18 per cent drop in the numbers of institutional deliveries across the city between March and November in 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. Civic officials and health experts attributed this drop to the rise in home births, mass migration and fear of contracting infections, due to which pregnant women were not visiting hospitals for their deliveries.

According to the BMC data, around 1,11,411 birth of children were registered at the public and private hospitals in the city between March and November in 2019 which dropped to 91,618 during the same period last year.

During the initial days of the pandemic, the city had reported the lowest number of institutional deliveries. In March, 8,784 institutional deliveries were reported which further dropped to 7,672 in April. Moreover, during the pre-Covid days, on an average, the city reported 12,379 monthly hospital-based deliveries. But since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, it has dropped to 10,180.

“We cannot say there is a drop in the pregnancy rate as before lockdown began in the country, most of them had become pregnant whose deliveries were scheduled in the next nine months till November. The numbers were less in March and April because of the nationwide lockdown due to which pregnant women feared to go to the hospital,” said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner.

Health experts said the main reason due to which the numbers have reduced is the rise in home births and mass migration following which many of them visited their hometown during the nationwide lockdown. Moreover, institutional deliveries during the pandemic varied from place to place depending on the availability of healthcare facilities.

Dr Ashok Anand, gynaecologist, JJ hospital said that the institutional deliveries have witnessed a drop due to many couples deciding to give birth to their children at their native places amid the pandemic.

“Since the pandemic started Mumbai was the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic due to which couples from poor economic backgrounds left the city fearing of contracting infections. Following which the numbers have reduced,” he said.

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