Pregnant women in Gaza are enduring a devastating toll due to the war as prenatal, postnatal, and delivery care before and after childbirth become nearly nonexistent in the region.
Anaesthesia is allocated on a "first-come, first-serve" basis as long as supplies last.
With transportation routes obstructed by rubble, women are compelled to give birth in unsanitary conditions within their homes or shelters.
Communication blockades only exacerbate the situation, making it impossible to access assistance from doctors or midwives via phone calls.
The hospitals grappling with insufficient resources are forced to perform C-sections without anaesthesia. Due to the lack of shelter and health care facilities, patients are hastily discharged within 3-24 hours.
According to the United Nations, approximately 50,000 women are currently expecting in Gaza, with over 5,000 scheduled to give birth in November alone.
If dire circumstances persist, about 15 percent of these expectant mothers may face severe health complications.
Following surgery, mothers have to return to overcrowded and unsanitary shelters that pose significant health risks to both infants and themselves. The absence of clean water and postnatal care has also resulted in a surge in infection rates among new mothers.
Ammal Awadallah, the executive director of the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA), underscores the difficult choices women in Gaza face, stating, "It is choosing between the different evils. There is no safe place in Gaza."
Limited access to electricity and incubators further jeopardises the well-being of newborns, with doctors often having to operate in darkness, relying solely on mobile phone torches. They are forced to carry out medical procedures with no sanitisation or provision of antibiotics.
The ongoing blockade of electricity by Israel and the escalating targeting of hospitals and ambulances have intensified maternal stress among many.
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Leah Hendricks emphasises the aggravated maternal and infant mortality rates due to the ongoing crisis, which places women in dire humanitarian circumstances.
Since the conflict began on Oct 7, more than one million people have been displaced, and over 10,000 individuals have lost their lives, according to the United Nations.
Reporter's age: 17 | Dhaka