Health and biological status

Health and biological status
2005. Newborn with optimal biological status © AEEH

Health and biological status

Very few populational studies analyze the characteristics of women, their pregnancies, deliverys and newborns from a bio anthropological perspective, which besides the health information,  gives an evolutionary, ecological and social context. The work of Trevathan (1987) is a unique reference on the variability of pregnancy and delivery not medicalized, but attended in a health facility. This author suggested that the social relationships (with the couple and with the group) are, together with the assisted delivery, human characteristics fixed in our evolution. WHO affirms that “there is a close correlation between equality and gender equity and the well-being of childhood and that “equality between genders promotes survival and adequate child development”.

Being born in optimal biological conditions is a health passport for the rest of life, therefore having population data on the normal variability and its temporal variation of fetal development, the biological state at birth, and the characteristics that define the ” maternal system” should be a priority of the health system in any country. The “maternal system” includes all the environmental, biological and behavioral aspects of the mother that contribute to the production and care of the descendants in their pre and postnatal stages. Optimal fetal development requires mothers with good biological and emotional status (prior to and during pregnancy), health care in accordance with current WHO guidelines, emotional and social support and equalitarian social relationships (WHO, 2008).

The determinants of the biological status of mothers are closely related to their nutritional status, the age of motherhood and their previous reproductive life, as well as with the presence of certain infections, and with some nocive habits such as smoking or alcohol consumption. The determinants of emotional state are closely related to situations of inequality that generate psychosocial stress: economic inequality, gender inequality and, in multi-ethnic societies, inequality by origin. In addition, the interaction of psychosocial and energy stress perpetuates disparities in pregnancy outcomes, with epidemiological implications.