What Are Your Medical Rights When You Are Pregnant?

Ambili S Kartha

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Jan 03, 2018

What Are Your Medical Rights When You Are Pregnant

As a pregnant woman do you know that Indian government has started some schemes and rules that are mandatory to be followed? Apart from getting your regular medical checkups done it is important to be aware about your medical rights that include – cashless deliveries in government hospitals, entitlement to free drugs and consumables amongst other things. So, now the question arises – if there are so many rules and schemes protecting a pregnant mommy why are there so many pregnancy-related complications. The answer is lack of awareness.

So let’s start from the basics.

The Shocking Statistics

Approximately 56,000 women are estimated to die every year as a result of pregnancy-related complications. Likewise, more than 13 lacs infants are found to die within 1year of the birth. Shockingly, 2/3rd of these infant deaths take place within the first four weeks of life. Out of the 2/3rd, more or less 7 lacs i.e. about 75% of the newborn deaths take place within a week of the birth and a greater part of these occur in the first two days after birth. This is not a statistic of any foreign country. All these are surfaced in different studies conducted in our own India.

Maternal And Infant Mortality Rate On Rise

While majority of this maternal and infant mortality happens in rural or remote part of our country, the urban part of the country is also not untouched by maternal and infant mortality. Either due to doctor’s negligence or due to any other reason.

Indian Government And Schemes To Protect The Rights Of Pregnant Woman

Indian Government has several schemes to promote institutional deliveries ensuring skilled attendance at birth, and thereby, bringing down the rate of maternal and infant mortality.

The Indian government and health system have been criticized on several occasions for not have done anything to reduce the maternal death, in spite of significant development in our economy.

Well, this is entirely a misconception. India has got very fine laws, rules, and schemes for the safety and well-being of pregnant women.

An Initiative By Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has taken a most important agenda by which all the states are agreement to provide completely free and cashless services to pregnant women, including normal deliveries, caesarean operations, and sick newborn(up to 30 days after birth) in Government health institutions in both rural & urban areas.

Lack Of Awareness Strikes Back - Janani Shishu Suraksksha Karyakram

Therefore, the real issue is unawareness. How many women are aware of Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram? This scheme was propelled by the government in 2011 with the intention of benefiting 12 million pregnant women. This scheme entitles many significant privileges for the pregnant women. Every pregnant woman in our country should be aware of their medical rights. Aware and utilize these privileges, also pass on this information to other women in your community.

What Does Janani Shishu Suraksksha Karyakram Do?

The initiative provides the following things mentioned below to all pregnant women who choose to deliver in a public health institution under the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) scheme launched by the Government of India in 2011.

  1. Free and cashless delivery
  2. Free C-Section
  3. Free drugs and consumables
  4. Free diagnostics
  5. Free diet during stay in the health institutions
  6. Free provision of blood
  7. Exemption from user charges
  8. Free transport from home to health institutions
  9. Free transport between facilities in case of referral
  10. Free drop back from Institutions to home after 48hrs stay

The following are the Free Entitlements for Sick newborns till 30 days after birth. This has now been expanded to cover sick infants

  1. Free treatment
  2. Free drugs and consumables
  3. Free diagnostics
  4. Free provision of blood
  5. Exemption from user charges
  6. Free Transport from Home to Health Institutions
  7. Free Transport between facilities in case of referral
  8. Free drop Back from Institutions to home

Other Schemes That Help Pregnant Mommy-To-Be

  1. Cash assistance: Cash assistance is provided to entitled pregnant women (from BPL families and SC/STs) when they opt to deliver in a government health facility under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY).
  2. Free vaccination: Free vaccinations are provided against tetanus for the pregnant women and against tuberculosis, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (woofing cough) & measles for the newborns under the Universal Immunization Program (UIP).
  3. Maternity leave: The maternity leave should be granted with full pay on completion of minimum 80 days in a firm in the 12 months prior to her expected date of delivery. Under the new Law, maternity leave is raised from the current 12 weeks to 26 weeks in both private and government sectors for first 2 children. For the third child, paid maternity leave is of 12 weeks duration.
  4. You cannot be fired due to pregnancy: Women cannot be fired from the job owing to pregnancy under the Maternity Benefit Act. Moreover, employers are forbidden from downgrading the worker or deducting her salary because of pregnancy.
  5. Additional paid leave for complication during pregnancy or delivery: In case of miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy, a worker is entitled to six weeks of paid maternity leave. She is also entitled to one additional month of paid leave if any complication happens due to pregnancy, delivery, premature birth, miscarriage, or medical termination. A tubectomy operation entitles two additional weeks of paid leave.
  6. Medical bonus: Besides 12 weeks of salary, a female worker is also entitled to the medical bonus. The Central Government is authorized to increase the basic amount every three years. In August 2008, the amount of medical bonus was 2500 Indian rupees which have been later increased in 2011 to 3500 Indian rupees.

Disclaimer: This article is written for the information of the general public and is not an alternate for professional legal/medical opinion.

If you are aware of any other medical rights for a pregnant woman then please do share with us in the comments section below, as we would love to hear from you.

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| Jan 04, 2018

very informative blog . this information needs to be disseminated widely so that it reaches the grassroots level so that mothers-to-be can benefit from it..

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