Let’s make special considerations for pregnant women in public places

COMMENT | Judith Hope Kiconco |  I recently passed by Quality shopping mall in Naalya close to the peak shopping hours to pick up a few items on my way home. The queues were growing longer, reason being that out of the many tills, only two were operating with the rest bearing signs ’till closed’.

I joined the queue with the three items I had picked, and I couldn’t help scanning the two queues as we moved along nearing the till. In the next cue was this pregnant lady who looked about eight months heavy, carrying bread and a soft drink in her hands.

Ahead of her were two people with a lot more items in their trolleys. She didn’t seem to mind the waiting but from the faces, she was making, I could tell she was uncomfortable.  From time to time she shifted her feet uncoordinatedly as if to stabilize herself or relieve tension from one foot to another.

My heart went out to her because I could easily relate to what she was going through. As a mother and midwife, I could imagine the growing pains she was experiencing having to be on her feet in a crowd for a while.

Making shopping easy and healthy for everyone

Being pregnant is a beautiful thing but this also comes with so much work.

A woman’s body undergoes so much to nurture and sustain another human. The body aches, the morning sickness, spikes in hormones that most times increase emotional sensitivity, and other health implications have to be handled by the mother to be. All of these lower the quality of life for pregnant women unlike their non-pregnant counterparts hence the need to make special considerations for them whenever possible.

On my way out, I made sure to express my concerns to the gentleman at the counter at the checkout point. I asked they segregate shoppers with a handful of items from those with full trolleys, if possible, to hasten the process of check out.

I especially pointed out the need to have special consideration for pregnant women in order to make their shopping experience less strenuous given their condition.

I don’t know of so many communal places that give special consideration to the vulnerable populations in our communities such as pregnant women, but this is something that we all can do if we are conscious of it.

Before Shoprite closed business, I remember visiting their Lugogo branch and they had made provisions for some categories of people including pregnant women and the elderly.  I was excited about this and made a point to let the management know of their kind consideration.

If you have used Pioneer Easy buses (the Kibaluma buses as they are commonly referred to) which traverse Kampala routes of Namugogo, Bweyogerere, Luzira and Kajjansi, you know what I am talking about.

While these buses have chairs clearly marked for pregnant women, the bus conductor warns people that sit on those designated seats that should a pregnant woman enter, they would have to relocate or stand and hand over the seat.

Just like this bus company, other service providers can also easily adapt this best practice. Coupled with individual conscientiousness, we can make public places more convenient and comfortable for pregnant women.

My benevolent appeal is to all public service provision points to make deliberate efforts to ease pregnant women’s visits to facilities like banks, supermarkets, hotels that serve buffets, checkpoints, and all the other places where people are subjected to queuing up.

This is not to say that pregnant women are invalids, but those that have had the opportunity to experience it know it’s not easy and any small or big adjustments by others to make you comfortable, mean a lot.

*****

Judith Hope Kiconco, Midwife and Public Health Specialist