Although often combined there are differing definitions for maternal and neonatal health and different interventions required to provide a holistic health service for both mothers and babies. WHO defines maternal health as the health of women during pregnancy; childbirth and the postpartum period. It encompasses the health care dimensions of family planning; preconception; prenatal; and postnatal care in order to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.
Newborn or neonatal care covers the first 28 days of a baby’s life. It focuses on immediate care after birth such as immediate and thorough drying; skin to skin contact of the newborn with the mother; cord clamping and cutting after the first minutes after birth; early initiation of breastfeeding; and exclusive breastfeeding and post natal care for the first 4 weeks.