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Home delivery and newborn care practices among urban women in western Nepal: a questionnaire survey

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      About 98% of newborn deaths occur in developing countries, where most newborns deaths occur at home. In Nepal, approximately, 90% of deliveries take place at home. Information about reasons for delivering at home and newborn care practices in urban areas of Nepal is lacking and such information will be useful for policy makers.


      A cross-sectional survey was carried out in the immunisation clinics of Pokhara city, western Nepal during January and February, 2006. Two trained health workers administered a semi-structured questionnaire to the mothers who had delivered at home.


      A total of 240 mothers were interviewed. Planned home deliveries were 140 (58.3%) and 100 (41.7%) were unplanned. Only 6.2% of deliveries had a skilled birth attendant present and 38 (15.8%) mothers gave birth alone. Only 46 (16.2%) women had used a clean home delivery kit and only 92 (38.3%) birth attendants had washed their hands. The umbilical cord was cut after expulsion of placenta in 154 (64.2%) deliveries and cord was cut using a new/boiled blade in 217 (90.4%) deliveries. Mustard oil was applied to the umbilical cord in 53 (22.1%) deliveries. Birth place was heated throughout the delivery in 88 (64.2%) deliveries. Only 100 (45.8%) newborns were wrapped within 10 minutes and 233 (97.1%) were wrapped within 30 minutes. Majority (93.8%) of the newborns were given a bath soon after birth. Mustard oil massage of the newborns was a common practice (144, 60%). Sixteen (10.8%) mothers did not feed colostrum to their babies. Prelacteal feeds were given to 37(15.2%) newborns. Initiation rates of breast-feeding were 57.9% within one hour and 85.4% within 24 hours. Main reasons cited for delivering at home were 'preference' (25.7%), 'ease and convenience' (21.4%) for planned deliveries while 'precipitate labor' (51%), 'lack of transportation' (18%) and 'lack of escort' during labor (11%) were cited for the unplanned ones.


      High-risk home delivery and newborn care practices are common in urban population also. In-depth qualitative studies are needed to explore the reasons for delivering at home. Community-based interventions are required to improve the number of families engaging a skilled attendant and hygiene during delivery. The high-risk traditional newborn care practices like delayed wrapping, bathing, mustard oil massage, prelacteal feeding and discarding colostrum need to be addressed by culturally acceptable community-based health education programmes.

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      Socioeconomic and physical distance to the maternity hospital as predictors for place of delivery: an observation study from Nepal

      Background Although the debate on the safety and women's right of choice to a home delivery vs. hospital delivery continues in the developed countries, an undesirable outcome of home delivery, such as high maternal and perinatal mortality, is documented in developing countries. The objective was to study whether socio-economic factors, distance to maternity hospital, ethnicity, type and size of family, obstetric history and antenatal care received in present pregnancy affected the choice between home and hospital delivery in a developing country. Methods This cross-sectional study was done during June, 2001 to January 2002 in an administratively and geographically well-defined territory with a population of 88,547, stretching from urban to adjacent rural part of Kathmandu and Dhading Districts of Nepal with maximum of 5 hrs of distance from Maternity hospital. There were no intermediate level of private or government hospital or maternity homes in the study area. Interviews were carried out on 308 women who delivered within 45 days of the date of the interview with a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Results A distance of more than one hour to the maternity hospital (OR = 7.9), low amenity score status (OR = 4.4), low education (OR = 2.9), multi-parity (OR = 2.4), and not seeking antenatal care in the present pregnancy (OR = 4.6) were statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of home delivery. Ethnicity, obstetric history, age of mother, ritual observance of menarche, type and size of family and who is head of household were not statistically significantly associated with the place of delivery. Conclusions The socio-economic standing of the household was a stronger predictor of place of delivery compared to ethnicity, the internal family structure such as type and size of family, head of household, or observation of ritual days by the mother of an important event like menarche. The results suggested that mothers, who were in the low-socio-economic scale, delivered at home more frequently in a developing country like Nepal.
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        Barriers to and attitudes towards promoting husbands' involvement in maternal health in Katmandu, Nepal.

        Couple-friendly reproductive health services and male partner involvement in women's reproductive health have recently garnered considerable attention. Given the sensitive nature of gender roles and relations in many cultures, understanding the context of a particular setting, potential barriers, and attitudes towards a new intervention are necessary first steps in designing services that include men. In preparation for a male involvement in antenatal care intervention, this qualitative study specifically aims to: (a) understand the barriers to male involvement in maternal health and (b) explore men's, women's, and providers' attitudes towards the promotion of male involvement in antenatal care and maternal health. In-depth interviews were conducted with fourteen couples and eight maternal health care providers at a public maternity hospital in Katmandu, Nepal. Additionally, seventeen couples participated in focus group discussions. The most prominent barriers to male involvement in maternal health included low levels of knowledge, social stigma, shyness/embarrassment and job responsibilities. Though providers also foresaw some obstacles, primarily in the forms of hospital policy, manpower and space problems, providers unanimously felt the option of couples-friendly maternal health services would enhance the quality of care and understanding of health information given to pregnant women, echoing attitudes expressed by most pregnant women and their husbands. Accordingly, a major shift in hospital policy was seen as an important first step in introducing couple-friendly antenatal or delivery services. The predominantly favorable attitudes of pregnant women, husbands, and providers towards encouraging greater male involvement in maternal health in this study imply that the introduction of an option for such services would be both feasible and well accepted.
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          Equity in use of home-based or facility-based skilled obstetric care in rural Bangladesh: an observational study.

          Few studies have assessed whether the poorest people in developing countries benefit from giving birth at home rather than in a facility. We analysed whether socioeconomic status results in differences in the use of professional midwives at home and in a basic obstetric facility in a rural area of Bangladesh, where obstetric care was free of charge. We routinely obtained data from Matlab, Bangladesh between 1987 and 2001. We compared the benefits of home-based and facility-based obstetric care using a multinomial logistic and binomial log link regression, controlling for multiple confounders. Whether or not a midwife was used at home or in a facility differed significantly with wealth (adjusted odds ratio comparing the wealthiest and poorest quintiles 1.94 [95% CI 1.69-2.24] for home-based care, and 2.05 [1.72-2.43] for facility-based care). The gap between rich and poor widened after the introduction of facility-based care in 1996. The risk ratio (RR) between the wealthiest and poorest quintiles was 1.91 (adjusted RR 1.49 [95% CI 1.16-1.91] when most births with a midwife took place at home compared with 2.71 (1.66 [1.41-1.96]) at the peak of facility-based care. In this area of Bangladesh, a shift from home-based to facility-based basic obstetric care is feasible but might lead to increased inequities in access to health care. However, there is also evidence of substantial inequities in home births. Before developing countries reinforce home-based births with a skilled attendant, research is needed to compare the feasibility, cost, effectiveness, acceptability, and implications for health-care equity in both approaches.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Community Medicine, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal
            [2 ]Department of Pediatrics, Manipal Teaching Hospital, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal
            [3 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Manipal Teaching Hospital Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, Nepal
            BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
            BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
            BioMed Central (London )
            23 August 2006
            : 6
            : 27
            Copyright © 2006 Sreeramareddy et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Research Article

            Obstetrics & Gynecology


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