OurHealth

Home birth risky without professional assistance

Written by Cynthia Maseko

Some women in Mpumalanga prefer giving birth to their children at home rather than going to hospital, prompting concerns that traditional birth attendants are not skilled to deal with any problems that might occur during delivery.

While most pregnant women who choose to have planned home births deliver without complications, research suggests that home births have more risks than hospital births.

Sindi Mogale from Bushbuckridge lost her twins during a home birth.

“I lost a lot of blood and was rushed to the hospital. This practice is still happening – especially in rural communities – because of cultural beliefs and the fact that there are no campaigns to educate communities about the risk of home births,” she said.

Supervision

Department of Health spokesperson Dumisani Malamule said health education and community dialogues were being conducted on the importance of delivery under the supervision of a health worker.

Sonto Lubisi from kaMsogwaba said she preferred giving birth at home after a negative experience when she had her first child in hospital. “The nurses vow to serve the community with dignity and respect, but I almost lost my newborn because they were busy gossiping and drinking tea and I had to deliver my baby alone.”

Community elder Elizabeth Zulu said while culture is very important, women who want to deliver a baby at home should make sure they are helped by someone who is properly trained. “Don’t put your life and your newborn’s life at risk; so rather go to hospital or clinic if there’s no trained midwife,” she said.

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.

About the author

Cynthia Maseko

Cynthia Maseko joined OurHealth in 2013 as a citizen journalist working in Mpumalanga. She is passionate about women’s health issues and joined Treatment Action Campaign branch as a volunteer after completing her matric. As an activist she has been involved with Equal Treatment, Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and also with Marie Stopes Clinic’s project Blue Star dealing with the promotion of safe abortions and HIV education.