Pregnant women describe the desperate maternal health situation in Gaza, health agency says

The United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency (UNFPA) released audio interviews with three women currently taking shelter in Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza describing their desperate situation.

The recordings were made over the last few days in Al Shifa Hospital, UNFPA said.

One woman says she was forced to flee her home while heavily pregnant and another lost a child in utero during an airstrike. 

Gaza is home to 50,000 pregnant women and "some 5,500 of these women are due to give birth in the coming month," according to an October 12 report from UNFPA. "That is equal to 166 births per day, taking place with inadequate access to healthcare or even clean water."

"I was under the rubble… I couldn't move… I was nine months pregnant. I had ten days left to give birth. They scanned the fetus; they found the pulse was weak and they had to do an emergency cesarean section,” 35-year-old Islam Hussein said in the interview released by UNFPA. "I named my son Sanad — it means support.”

"I am two months pregnant, and I had a hemorrhage before," 24-year-old Reham Rashad Bakr said. "There is a treatment that I should take but I am not able to take it,” she said in the audio interview. "Pregnant women like me should be drinking milk and eating eggs. All bakeries have been bombed. There is no bread, no water.” 

Alaa Al Bayaa, a 30-year-old pregnant Palestinian woman, said when she went to the doctor, she was told her baby had died.

"The doctor told me there is no pulse, there is no hope," she said. "It means my fetus is dead and it needs to be removed from my uterus."  

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