Women with type 1 diabetes are at high risk of complications during both pregnancy and childbirth. Stringent monitoring of blood sugar is required in order to improve the chance of giving birth to a healthy child; however, this increases the incidence of severe hypoglycaemia. The aim of this study was to explore the need for and experience of professional support during pregnancy and childbirth among women with type 1 diabetes.
The study has a lifeworld research approach. Six focus groups and four individual interviews were conducted with 23 women, 6–24 months after delivery. The participants were encouraged to narrate their experiences of pregnancy and childbirth in relation to glycaemic control, well-being and provided care. Data analysis was directed towards discovering qualitative meanings by identifying and clustering meaning units in the text. Further analysis identified eight themes of meaning, classified under pregnancy or childbirth, forming a basis for a final whole interpretation of the explored phenomenon.
The women felt worry about jeopardizing the baby's health and this was sometimes made worse by care providers' manner and lack of competence and support. The increased attention from care providers during pregnancy was experienced as related to the health of the unborn child; not the mothers. Women who during pregnancy received care in a disconnected diabetes organisation were forced to act as messengers between different care providers.
Clarity in terms of defining responsibilities is necessary during pregnancy and childbirth, both among care providers and between the woman and the care provider. Furthermore, a decision must be made concerning how to delegate, transfer or share diabetes responsibility during labour between the care providers and the parents-to-be.
After more than two decades of the Safe Motherhood Initiative and Millennium Development Goals aimed at reducing maternal mortality, women continue to die in childbirth at unacceptably high rates in Pakistan. While an extensive literature describes various programmatic strategies, it neglects the rigorous analysis of the reasons these strategies have been unsuccessful, especially for women living at the economic and social margins of society. A critical gap in current knowledge is a detailed understanding of the root causes of disparities in maternal health care, and in particular, how gender and class influence policy formulation and the design and delivery of maternal health care services. Taking Pakistan as a case study, this research builds upon two distinct yet interlinked conceptual approaches to understanding the phenomenon of inequity in access to maternal health care: social exclusion and health systems as social institutions.
This four year project consists of two interrelated modules that focus on two distinct groups of participants: (1) poor, disadvantaged women and men and (2) policy makers, program managers and health service providers. Module one will employ critical ethnography to understand the key axes of social exclusion as related to gender, class and zaat and how they affect women’s experiences of using maternal health care. Through health care setting observations, interviews and document review, Module two will assess policy design and delivery of maternal health services.
This research will provide theoretical advances to enhance understanding of the power dynamics of gender and class that may underlie poor women’s marginalization from health care systems in Pakistan. It will also provide empirical evidence to support formulation of maternal health care policies and health care system practices aimed at reducing disparities in maternal health care in Pakistan. Lastly, it will enhance inter-disciplinary research capacity in the emerging field of social exclusion and maternal health and help reduce social inequities and achieve the Millennium Development Goal No. 5.
Social exclusion; Maternal health; Gender; Caste system; Pakistan; Health care system; Class; Health policy; Pregnancy and childbirth; Antenatal care
Maternity care is all care in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. In the Netherlands maternity care is provided by midwives and general practitioners (GPs) in primary care and midwives and gynecologists in secondary care. To be able to interpret women's experience with the quality of maternity care, it is necessary to take into account their 'care path', that is: their route through the care system.
In the Netherlands a new tool is being developed to evaluate the quality of care from the perspective of clients. The tool is called: 'Consumer Quality Index' or CQI and is, within a standardized and systematic framework, tailored to specific health care issues.
Within the framework of developing a CQI Maternity Care, data were gathered about the care women in the Netherlands received during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. In this paper the quality of maternity care in the Netherlands is presented, as experienced by women at different stages of their care path.
A sample of 1,248 pregnant clients of four insurance companies, with their due date in early April 2007, received a postal survey in the third trimester of pregnancy (response 793). Responders to the first questionnaire received a second questionnaire twelve weeks later, on average four weeks after delivery (response 632). Based on care provider and place of birth the 'care path' of the women is described. With factor analysis and reliability analysis five composite measures indicating the quality of treatment by the care provider at different stages of the care path have been constructed. Overall ratings relate to eight different aspects of care, varying from antenatal care by a midwife or GP to care related to neonatal screening.
41.5 percent of respondents remained in primary care throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period, receiving care from a midwife or general practitioner, 31.3% of respondents gave birth at home. The majority of women (58.5%) experienced referral from one care provider to another, i.e. from primary to secondary care or reverse, at least once. All but two percent of women had one or more ultrasound scans during pregnancy. The composite measures for the quality of treatment in different settings and by different care providers showed that women, regardless of parity, were very positive about the quality of the maternity care they received. Quality-of-treatment scores were high: on average 3.75 on a scale ranging from 1 to 4. Overall ratings on a 0 – 10 scale for quality of care during the antenatal period and during labor, birth and the postpartum period were high as well, on average 8.36.
The care path of women in maternity care was seldom straight forward. The majority of pregnant women switched from primary to secondary care and back at least once, during pregnancy or during labor and birth or both.
The results of the quality measures indicate that the quality of care as experienced by women is high throughout the care system. But with regard to the care during labor and birth the quality of care scores are higher when women know their care provider, when they give birth at home, when they give birth in primary care and when they are assisted by their own midwife.
The editors of BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2012).
A primary cause of high maternal mortality in Bangladesh is lack of access to professional delivery care. Examining the role of the family, particularly the husband, during pregnancy and childbirth is important to understanding women's access to and utilization of professional maternal health services that can prevent maternal mortality. This qualitative study examines husbands' involvement during childbirth and professional delivery care utilization in a rural sub-district of Netrokona district, Bangladesh.
Using purposive sampling, ten households utilizing a skilled attendant during the birth of the youngest child were selected and matched with ten households utilizing an untrained traditional birth attendant, or dhatri. Households were selected based on a set of inclusion criteria, such as approximate household income, ethnicity, and distance to the nearest hospital. Twenty semi-structured interviews were conducted in Bangla with husbands in these households in June 2010. Interviews were transcribed, translated into English, and analyzed using NVivo 9.0.
By purposefully selecting households that differed on the type of provider utilized during delivery, common themes--high costs, poor transportation, and long distances to health facilities--were eliminated as sufficient barriers to the utilization of professional delivery care. Divergent themes, namely husbands' social support and perceived social norms, were identified as underlying factors associated with delivery care utilization. We found that husbands whose wives utilized professional delivery care provided emotional, instrumental and informational support to their wives during delivery and believed that medical intervention was necessary. By contrast, husbands whose wives utilized an untrained dhatri at home were uninvolved during delivery and believed childbirth should take place at home according to local traditions.
This study provides novel evidence about male involvement during childbirth in rural Bangladesh. These findings have important implications for program planners, who should pursue culturally sensitive ways to involve husbands in maternal health interventions and assess the effectiveness of education strategies targeted at husbands.
Every year, nearly half a million women and girls needlessly die as a result of complications during pregnancy, childbirth or the 6 weeks following delivery. Almost all (99%) of these deaths occur in developing countries. The study aim was to describe the factors related to low visits for antenatal care (ANC) services among pregnant women in Indonesia.
A total of 145 of 200 married women of reproductive age who were pregnant or had experienced birth responded to the questionnaire about their ANC visits. We developed a questionnaire containing 35 items and four sections. Section one and two included the women's socio demographics, section three about basic knowledge of pregnancy and section four contained two subsections about preferences about midwives and preferences about Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) and the second subsections were traditional beliefs. Data were collected using a convenience sampling strategy during July and August 2010, from 10 villages in the Tanjung Emas. Multiple regression analysis was used for preference for types of providers.
Three-quarter of respondents (77.9%) received ANC more than four times. The other 22.1% received ANC less than four times. 59.4% received ANC visits during pregnancy, which was statistically significant compared to multiparous (p = 0.001). Women who were encouraged by their family to receive ANC had statistically significant higher traditional belief scores compared to those who encouraged themselves (p = 0.003). Preference for TBAs was most strongly affected by traditional beliefs (p < 0.001). On the contrary, preference for midwives was negatively correlated with traditional beliefs (p < 0.001).
Parity was the factor influencing women's receiving less than the recommended four ANC visits during pregnancy. Women who were encouraged by their family to get ANC services had higher traditional beliefs score than women who encouraged themselves. Moreover, traditional beliefs followed by lower income families had the greater influence over preferring TBAs, with the opposite trend for preferring midwives. Increased attention needs to be given to the women; it also very important for exploring women's perceptions about health services that they received.
Pregnant women; Traditional birth attendant and traditional beliefs
Pregnancy and childbirth are associated with weight gain in women, and retention of weight gained during pregnancy can lead to obesity in later life. Diet and physical activity are factors that can influence the loss of retained pregnancy weight after birth. Exercise guidelines exist for pregnancy, but recommendations for exercise after childbirth are virtually nonexistent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of physical activity intervention based on pedometer on physical activity level and anthropometric measures of women after childbirth.
We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which 66 women who had given birth 6 weeks to 6 months prior were randomly assigned to receive either a 12 week tailored program encouraging increased walking using a pedometer (intervention group, n = 32) or routine postpartum care (control group, n = 34). During the 12-week study period, each woman in the intervention group wore a pedometer and recorded her daily step count. The women were advised to increase their steps by 500 per week until they achieved the first target of 5000 steps per day and then continued to increase it to minimum of 10,000 steps per day by the end of 12th week. Assessed outcomes included anthropometric measures, physical activity level, and energy expenditure per week. Data were analyzed using the paired t-test, independent t-test, Mann-Whitney, chi-square, Wilcoxon, covariance analysis, and the general linear model repeated measures procedure as appropriate.
After 12 weeks, women in the intervention group had significantly increased their physical activity and energy expenditure per week (4394 vs. 1651 calorie, p < 0.001). Significant differences between-group in weight (P = 0.001), Body Mass Index (P = 0.001), waist circumference (P = 0.001), hip circumference (P = 0.032) and waist-hip ratio (P = 0.02) were presented after the intervention. The intervention group significantly increased their mean daily step count over the study period (from 3249 before, to 9960 after the intervention, p < 0.001).
A physical activity intervention based on pedometer is an effective means to increase physical activity; reducing retention of weight gained during pregnancy and can improve anthropometric measures in postpartum women.
Analysis of severe maternal morbidity (maternal near misses) provides information on the quality of care. We assessed the prevalence/incidence of maternal near miss, maternal mortality and case fatality ratio through systematic review of studies on severe maternal morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa.
We examined studies that reported prevalence/incidence of severe maternal morbidity (maternal near misses) during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period between 1996 and 2010. We evaluated the quality of studies (objectives, study design, population studied, setting and context, definition of severe acute obstetric morbidity and data collection instruments). We extracted data, using a pre-defined protocol and criteria, and estimated the prevalence or incidence of maternal near miss. The case-fatality ratios for reported maternal complications were estimated.
We identified 12 studies: six were cross-sectional, five were prospective and one was a retrospective review of medical records. There was variation in the setting: while some studies were health facility-based (at the national referral hospital, regional hospital or various district hospitals), others were community-based studies. The sample size varied from 557 women to 23,026. Different definitions and terminologies for maternal near miss included acute obstetric complications, severe life threatening obstetric complications and severe obstetric complications. The incidence/prevalence ratio and case-fatality ratio for maternal near misses ranged from 1.1%-10.1% and 3.1%-37.4% respectively. Ruptured uterus, sepsis, obstructed labor and hemorrhage were the commonest morbidities that were analyzed. The incidence/prevalence ratio of hemorrhage ranged from 0.06% to 3.05%, while the case fatality ratio for hemorrhage ranged from 2.8% to 27.3%. The prevalence/incidence ratio for sepsis ranged from 0.03% to 0.7%, while the case fatality ratio ranged from 0.0% to 72.7%.
The incidence/prevalence ratio and case fatality ratio of maternal near misses are very high in studies from sub-Saharan Africa. Large differences exist between countries on the prevalence/incidence of maternal near misses. This could be due to different contexts/settings, variation in the criteria used to define the maternal near misses morbidity, or rigor used carrying out the study. Future research on maternal near misses should adopt the WHO recommendation on classification of maternal morbidity and mortality.
Antenatal care is widely established and provides an opportunity to inform and educate pregnant women about pregnancy, childbirth and care of the newborn. It is expected that this would assist the women in making choices that would contribute to good pregnancy outcome. We examined the provision of information and education in antenatal clinics from the perspective of pregnant women attending these clinics.
A cross sectional survey of 457 pregnant women attending six urban and six rural antenatal clinics in the largest health division in The Gambia was undertaken. The women were interviewed using modified antenatal client exit interview and antenatal record review questionnaires from the WHO Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment kit. Differences between women attending urban and rural clinics were assessed using the Chi-square test. Relative risks with 95% confidence intervals are presented.
Ninety percent of those interviewed had attended the antenatal clinic more than once and 52% four or more times. Most pregnant women (70.5%) said they spent 3 minutes or less with the antenatal care provider. About 35% recalled they were informed or educated on diet and nutrition, 30.4% on care of the baby, 23.6% on family planning, 22.8% on place of birth and 19.3% on what to do if there was a complication.
About 25% of pregnant women said they were given information about the progress of their pregnancy after consultation and only 12.8% asked their provider any question. Awareness of danger signs was low. The proportions of women that recognised signs of danger were 28.9% for anaemia, 24.6% for hypertension, 14.8% for haemorrhage, 12.9% for fever and 5% for puerperal sepsis. Prolonged labour was not recognised as a danger sign. Women attending rural antenatal clinics were 1.6 times more likely to recognise signs of anaemia and hypertension as indicative of danger compared to women attending urban antenatal clinics.
Information, education and communication during antenatal care in the largest health division are poor. Pregnant women are ill-equipped to make appropriate choices especially when they are in danger. This contributes to the persistence of high maternal mortality ratios in the country.
The majority of adolescents in Africa experience pregnancy, childbirth and enter motherhood without adequate information about maternal health issues. Information about these issues could help them reduce their pregnancy related health risks. Existing studies have concentrated on adolescents' knowledge of other areas of reproductive health, but little is known about their awareness and knowledge of safe motherhood issues. We sought to bridge this gap by assessing the knowledge of school pupils regarding safe motherhood in Mtwara Region, Tanzania.
We used qualitative and quantitative descriptive methods to assess school pupils' knowledge of safe motherhood and HIV/AIDS in pregnancy. An anonymous questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge of 135 pupils ranging in age from 9 to 17 years. The pupils were randomly selected from 3 primary schools. Underlying beliefs and attitudes were assessed through focus group interviews with 35 school children. Key informant interviews were conducted with six schoolteachers, two community leaders, and two health staffs.
Knowledge about safe motherhood and other related aspects was generally low. While 67% of pupils could not mention the age at which a girl may be able to conceive, 80% reported it is safe for a girl to be married before she reaches 18 years. Strikingly, many school pupils believed that complications during pregnancy and childbirth are due to non-observance of traditions and taboos during pregnancy. Birth preparedness, important risk factors, danger signs, postpartum care and vertical transmission of HIV/AIDS and its prevention measures were almost unknown to the pupils.
Poor knowledge of safe motherhood issues among school pupils in rural Tanzania is related to lack of effective and coordinated interventions to address reproductive health and motherhood. For long-term and sustained impact, school children must be provided with appropriate safe motherhood information as early as possible through innovative school-based interventions.
A randomised controlled trial of participatory women's groups in rural Nepal previously showed reductions in maternal and newborn mortality. In addition to the outcome data we also collected previously unreported information from the subgroup of women who had been pregnant prior to study commencement and conceived during the trial period. To determine the mechanisms via which the intervention worked we here examine the changes in perinatal care of these women. In particular we use the information to study factors affecting positive behaviour change in pregnancy, childbirth and newborn care.
Women's groups focusing on perinatal care were introduced into 12 of 24 study clusters (average cluster population 7000). A total of 5400 women of reproductive age enrolled in the trial had previously been pregnant and conceived during the trial period.
For each of four outcomes (attendance at antenatal care; use of a boiled blade to cut the cord; appropriate dressing of the cord; not discarding colostrum) each of these women was classified as BETTER, GOOD, BAD or WORSE to describe whether and how she changed her pre-trial practice. Multilevel multinomial models were used to identify women most responsive to intervention.
Among those not initially following good practice, women in intervention areas were significantly more likely to do so later for all four outcomes (OR 1.92 to 3.13). Within intervention clusters, women who attended groups were more likely to show a positive change than non-group members with regard to antenatal care utilisation and not discarding colostrum, but non-group members also benefited.
Women's groups promoted significant behaviour change for perinatal care amongst women not previously following good practice. Positive changes attributable to intervention were not restricted to specific demographic subgroups.
There is a high association between disturbed (poor quality) sleep and depression, which has lead to a consensus that there is a bidirectional relationship between sleep and mood. One time in a woman’s life when sleep is commonly disturbed is during pregnancy and following childbirth. It has been suggested that sleep disturbance is another factor that may contribute to the propensity for women to become depressed in the postpartum period compared to other periods in their life. Post Natal Depression (PND) is common (15.5%) and associated with sleep disturbance, however, no studies have attempted to provide a sleep-focused intervention to pregnant women and assess whether this can improve sleep, and consequently maternal mood post-partum. The primary aim of this research is to determine the efficacy of a brief psychoeducational sleep intervention compared with a control group to improve sleep management, with a view to reduce depressive symptoms in first time mothers.
This randomised controlled trial will recruit 214 first time mothers during the last trimester of their pregnancy. Participants will be randomised to receive either a set of booklets (control group) or a 3hour psychoeducational intervention that focuses on sleep. The primary outcomes of this study are sleep-related, that is sleep quality and sleepiness for ten months following the birth of the baby. The secondary outcome is depressive symptoms. It is hypothesised that participants in the intervention group will have better sleep quality and sleepiness in the postpartum period than women in the control condition. Further, we predict that women who receive the sleep intervention will have lower depression scores postpartum compared with the control group.
This study aims to provide an intervention that will improve maternal sleep in the postpartum period. If sleep can be effectively improved through a brief psychoeducational program, then it may have a protective role in reducing maternal postpartum depressive symptoms.
This trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Register under the registration number ACTRN12611000859987
Sleep; New mothers; Postnatal; Postpartum; Depression; Psychoeducation
Although record linkage of routinely collected health datasets is a valuable research resource, most datasets are established for administrative purposes and not for health outcomes research. In order for meaningful results to be extrapolated to specific populations, the limitations of the data and linkage methodology need to be investigated and clarified. It is the objective of this study to investigate the differences in ascertainment which may arise between a hospital admission dataset and a dispensing claims dataset, using major depression in pregnancy as an example. The safe use of antidepressants in pregnancy is an ongoing issue for clinicians with around 10% of pregnant women suffer from depression. As the birth admission will be the first admission to hospital during their pregnancy for most women, their use of antidepressants, or their depressive condition, may not be revealed to the attending hospital clinicians. This may result in adverse outcomes for the mother and infant.
Population-based de-identified data were provided from the Western Australian Data Linkage System linking the administrative health records of women with a delivery to related records from the Midwives’ Notification System, the Hospital Morbidity Data System and the national Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme dataset. The women with depression during their pregnancy were ascertained in two ways: women with dispensing records relating to dispensed antidepressant medicines with an WHO ATC code to the 3rd level, pharmacological subgroup, ‘N06A Antidepressants’; and, women with any hospital admission during pregnancy, including the birth admission, if a comorbidity was recorded relating to depression.
From 2002 to 2005, there were 96698 births in WA. At least one antidepressant was dispensed to 4485 (4.6%) pregnant women. There were 3010 (3.1%) women with a comorbidity related to depression recorded on their delivery admission, or other admission to hospital during pregnancy. There were a total of 7495 pregnancies identified by either set of records. Using data linkage, we determined that these records represented 6596 individual pregnancies. Only 899 pregnancies were found in both groups (13.6% of all cases). 80% of women dispensed an antidepressant did not have depression recorded as a comorbidity on their hospital records. A simple capture-recapture calculation suggests the prevalence of depression in this population of pregnant women to be around 16%.
No single data source is likely to provide a complete health profile for an individual. For women with depression in pregnancy and dispensed antidepressants, the hospital admission data do not adequately capture all cases.
Population-based; Data linkage; Pharmacovigilance; Case ascertainment; Depression; Pregnancy; Antidepressant
Recent declines in the provision of prenatal care by family physicians and the integration of midwives into the Canadian health care system have led to a shift in the pattern of prenatal care provision; however it is unknown if this also impacts use of other health services during pregnancy. This study aimed to assess the impact of the type of prenatal care provider on the self-reported use of ancillary services during pregnancy.
Data for this study was obtained from the All Our Babies study, a community-based prospective cohort study of women’s experiences during pregnancy and the post-partum period. Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to assess the association between type of prenatal care provider and use of ancillary health services in pregnancy.
During pregnancy, 85.8% of women reported accessing ancillary health services. Compared to women who received prenatal care from a family physician, women who saw a midwife were less likely to call a nurse telephone advice line (OR = 0.30, 95% CI: 0.18-0.50) and visit the emergency department (OR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.24-0.89), but were more likely receive chiropractic care (OR = 4.07, 95% CI: 2.49-6.67). Women who received their prenatal care from an obstetrician were more likely to visit a walk-in clinic (OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.11-2.05) than those who were cared for by a family physician.
Prenatal care is a complex entity and referral pathways between care providers and services are not always clear. This can lead to the provision of fragmented care and create opportunities for errors and loss of information. All types of care providers have a role in addressing the full range of health needs that pregnant women experience.
Physician practice patterns; Pregnancy; Health services research
Our aim was to describe the range of perineal trauma in women with a singleton vaginal birth and estimate the effect of maternal and obstetric characteristics on the incidence of perineal tears.
We conducted a prospective observational study on all women with a planned singleton vaginal delivery between May and September 2006 in one obstetric unit, three freestanding midwifery-led units and home settings in South East England. Data on maternal and obstetric characteristics were collected prospectively and analysed using univariable and multivariable logistic regression. The outcome measures were incidence of perineal trauma, type of perineal trauma and whether it was sutured or not.
The proportion of women with an intact perineum at delivery was 9.6% (125/1,302) in nulliparae, and 31.2% (453/1,452) in multiparae, with a higher incidence in the community (freestanding midwifery-led units and home settings). Multivariable analysis showed multiparity (OR 0.52; 95% CI: 0.30–0.90) was associated with reduced odds of obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS), whilst forceps (OR 4.43; 95% CI: 2.02–9.71), longer duration of second stage of labour (OR 1.49; 95% CI: 1.13–1.98), and heavier birthweight (OR 1.001; 95% CI: 1.001–1.001), were associated with increased odds. Adjusted ORs for spontaneous perineal truama were: multiparity (OR 0.42; 95% CI: 0.32–0.56); hospital delivery (OR 1.48; 95% CI: 1.01–2.17); forceps delivery (OR 2.61; 95% CI: 1.22–5.56); longer duration of second stage labour (OR 1.45; 95% CI: 1.28–1.63); and heavier birthweight (OR 1.001; 95% CI: 1.000–1.001).
This large prospective study found no evidence for an association between many factors related to midwifery practice such as use of a birthing pool, digital perineal stretching in the second stage, hands off delivery technique, or maternal birth position with incidence of OASIS or spontaneous perineal trauma. We also found a low overall incidence of OASIS, and fewer second degree tears were sutured in the community than in the hospital settings. This study confirms previous findings of overall high incidence of perineal trauma following vaginal delivery, and a strong association between forceps delivery and perineal trauma.
Vaginal delivery; Perineal trauma; OASIS; Prospective study
The HIV risk increases during pregnancy. The elevated risk of HIV acquisition in pregnant women may be explained by behavioural and other factors. The aim of this study was to assess sexual HIV risk behaviour and its associated factors among pregnant women in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1 502 pregnant women (age range 18–47 years, mean age 26.6 years, standard deviation (SD) 6.1, and the mean gestational age was 6.5 months (SD 1.6). Antenatal women were selected, using systematic sampling from 63 primary care clinics and community health centres in Nkangala District. Data were collected by using a structured questionnaire and multivariate logistic regression analysis was used.
The majority (63%) of the participants had never used a condom with their primary sexual partner in the past 3 months, 60% were not aware of the HIV status of their sexual partner, 7.6% had a casual sexual partner in the past 3 months, 20% had two or more sexual partners in the past 12 months and 17.3% reported to have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) (other than HIV) in the past 12 months. The various HIV risk behaviours were predicted, by being single and alcohol use for multiple sexual partners; by fewer antenatal visits, being HIV negative and not having used alcohol for lack of condom use; by being HIV positive, having experienced physical partner violence and psychological distress for having been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (other than HIV); and by lower education, unplanned pregnancy, non-antenatal care attendance by expectant father, the belief that antiretrovirals can cure HIV and being HIV positive for having a partner with HIV positve or unknown status.
High levels of sexual HIV risk behaviour were found during pregnancy. Pregnant women need to be informed of their increased risk of HIV and the importance of sexual HIV risk reduction including the use of condoms throughout pregnancy.
Based on the realization that Uganda is not on track to achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, Makerere University School of Public Health in collaboration with other partners proposed to conduct two community based maternal/newborn care interventions aimed at increasing access to health facility care through transport vouchers and use of community health workers to promote ideal family care practices. Prior to the implementation, a stakeholder analysis was undertaken to assess and map stakeholders’ interests, influence/power and position in relation to the interventions; their views regarding the success and sustainability; and how this research can influence policy formulation in the country.
A stakeholder analysis was carried out in March 2011 at national level and in four districts of Eastern Uganda where the proposed interventions would be conducted. At the national level, four key informant interviews were conducted with the ministry of health representative, Member of Parliament, and development partners. District health team members were interviewed and also engaged in a workshop; and at community level, twelve focus group discussions were conducted among women, men and motorcycle transporters.
This analysis revealed that district and community level stakeholders were high level supporters of the proposed interventions but not drivers. At community level the mothers, their spouses and transporters were of low influence due to the limited funds they possessed. National level and district stakeholders believed that the intervention is costly and cannot be affordably scaled up. They advised the study team to mobilize and sensitize the communities to contribute financially from the start in order to enhance sustainability beyond the study period. Stakeholders believed that the proposed interventions will influence policy through modeling on how to improve the quality of maternal/newborn health services, male involvement, and improved accessibility of services.
Most of the stakeholders interviewed were supporters of the proposed maternal and newborn care intervention because of the positive benefits of the intervention. The analysis highlighted stakeholder concerns that will be included in the final project design and that could also be useful in countries of similar setting that are planning to set up programmes geared at increasing access to maternal and new born interventions. Key among these concerns was the need to use both human and financial resources that are locally available in the community, to address supply side barriers that influence access to maternal and child healthcare. Research to policy translation, therefore, will require mutual trust, continued dialogue and engagement of the researchers, implementers and policy makers to enable scale up.
Stakeholder analysis; Maternal and newborn health; Eastern Uganda; Future health systems
Traditional birth attendants retain an important role in reproductive and maternal health in Tanzania. The Tanzanian Government promotes TBAs in order to provide maternal and neonatal health counselling and initiating timely referral, however, their role officially does not include delivery attendance. Yet, experience illustrates that most TBAs still often handle complicated deliveries. Therefore, the objectives of this research were to describe (1) women’s health-seeking behaviour and experiences regarding their use of antenatal (ANC) and postnatal care (PNC); (2) their rationale behind the choice of place and delivery; and to learn (3) about the use of traditional practices and resources applied by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and how they can be linked to the bio-medical health system.
Qualitative and quantitative interviews were conducted with over 270 individuals in Masasi District, Mtwara Region and Ilala Municipality, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The results from the urban site show that significant achievements have been made in terms of promoting pregnancy- and delivery-related services through skilled health workers. Pregnant women have a high level of awareness and clearly prefer to deliver at a health facility. The scenario is different in the rural site (Masasi District), where an adequately trained health workforce and well-equipped health facilities are not yet a reality, resulting in home deliveries with the assistance of either a TBA or a relative.
Instead of focusing on the traditional sector, it is argued that more attention should be paid towards (1) improving access to as well as strengthening the health system to guarantee delivery by skilled health personnel; and (2) bridging the gaps between communities and the formal health sector through community-based counselling and health education, which is provided by well-trained and supervised village health workers who inform villagers about promotive and preventive health services, including maternal and neonatal health.
Maternal health; Traditional birth attendants; Health facility delivery; Pregnancy; Tanzania
In Kenya, about 3000 fistula cases are estimated to occur every year with an incidence of 1/1000 women. This study sought to identify risk factors associated with developing obstetrics fistula in order to guide implementation of appropriate interventions.
An unmatched case control study was conducted in three major hospitals in Kenya between October and December 2010. Cases were patients who had fistula following delivery within the previous five years. Controls were systematically selected from women who attended obstetrics and gynecology clinics at these hospitals, and did not have present or past history of fistula. Odds ratio was used as measure of association with their corresponding 95% confidence interval. Factors with p value of <0.1 were included into forward additive logistic regression model to generate adjusted odds ratios.
Seventy cases and 140 controls were included in the study. Independent risk factors associated with obstetrics fistula included duration of labour of >24 hours (OR = 4.7, 95% CI = 2.4 -9.2), seeking delivery services after 6 hours of labour onset (OR = 6.9, 95% CI = 2.2-21.3), taking more than 2 hours to reach a health facility (OR = 5.7, 95% CI = 2.9 -11.5), having none or primary education (OR = 9.6, 95% CI = 3.3 –27.9) and being referred to another facility for emergency obstetrics services (OR = 8.6, 95% CI = 2.7 –27).
Risk factors for developing obstetrics fistula were delays in care seeking including delay in making decision to seek delivery servers after six hours of labour onset, taking more than two hours to reach a health facility, labour duration of more than 24 hours and having no formal or primary education. Efforts geared at strengthening all levels of the health system to reduce delays in access to emergency obstetric care are needed.
Obstetric fistula; Vesico vaginal fistula; Fistula
Life transitions are associated with high levels of stress affecting health behaviours among people with Type 1 diabetes. Transition to motherhood is a major transition with potential complications accelerated by pregnancy with risks of adverse childbirth outcomes and added anxiety and worries about pregnancy outcomes. Further, preparing and going through pregnancy requires vigilant attention to a diabetes management regimen and detailed planning of everyday activities with added stress on women. Psychological and social well-being during and after pregnancy are integral for good pregnancy outcomes for both mother and baby. The aim of this study is to establish the face and content validity of two novel measures assessing the well-being of women with type 1 diabetes in their transition to motherhood, 1) during pregnancy and 2) during the postnatal period.
The approach to the development of the Pregnancy and Postnatal Well-being in T1DM Transition questionnaires was based on a four-stage pre-testing process; systematic overview of literature, items development, piloting testing of questionnaire and refinement of questionnaire. The questionnaire was reviewed at every stage by expert clinicians, researchers and representatives from consumer groups. The cognitive debriefing approach confirmed relevance of issues and identified additional items.
The literature review and interviews identified three main areas impacting on the women’s postnatal self-management; (1) psychological well-being; (2) social environment, (3) physical (maternal and fetal) well-being. The cognitive debriefing in pilot testing of the questionnaire identified that immediate postnatal period was difficult, particularly when the women were breastfeeding and felt depressed.
The questionnaires fill an important gap by systematically assessing the psychosocial needs of women with type 1 diabetes during pregnancy and in the immediate postnatal period. The questionnaires can be used in larger data collection to establish psychometric properties. The questionnaires potentially play a key role in prospective research to determine the self-management and psychological needs of women with type 1 diabetes transitioning to motherhood and to evaluate health education interventions.
T1DM (type 1 diabetes); Pregnancy; Postnatal; Questionnaire; Transitions; Self-management; Social support; Psychological well-being
Delaying the first childbirth to an advanced age has increased significantly during the last decades, but little is known about older first time mothers’ experience of childbirth. This study investigates the associations between advanced maternal age in primiparous women and the postnatal assessment of childbirth.
The study was based on the National Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Data on 30 065 nulliparous women recruited in the second trimester 1999–2008 were used. Three questionnaires were completed: around gestational week 17 and 30, and at 6 months postpartum. Medical data were retrieved from the national Medical Birth Register. Advanced age was defined as ≥32 years and the reference group as 25–31 years. Descriptive and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted.
Primiparous women aged 32 years and above expressed more worry about the upcoming birth than the younger women (adjusted OR 1.13; 95% CI 1.06-1.21), and 6 months after the birth they had a slightly higher risk of having experienced childbirth as ‘worse than expected’ (adjusted OR 1.09; 95% CI 1.02-1.16). The difference in birth experience was explained by mode of delivery. Comparisons within subgroups defined by the same mode of delivery showed that the risk of a more negative birth experience in the older women only applied to those with a spontaneous vaginal birth (adjusted OR 1.12; 95% CI 1.02-1.22). In women delivered by cesarean section, the older more often than younger women rated childbirth as ‘better than expected’ (elective cesarean delivery: adjusted OR 1.36; 95% CI 1.01-1.85, emergency cesarean delivery: adjusted OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.03-1.84).
Postponing childbirth to ≥32 years of age only marginally affected the experience of childbirth. Older women seemed to manage better than younger with having an operative delivery.
Experience of childbirth; Maternal age; Primiparous; Postponement of childbirth
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) and insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) must be provided during antenatal care (ANC) visits for malaria prevention during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to determine the level of ANC attendance and its relationship with IPTp-SP and bed net coverage in Gabonese pregnant women.
This was a cross-sectional survey performed in 2011 in sentinel sites for malaria: two ANC units (Melen and Owendo) and one delivery unit (CHL). A validated structured questionnaire was used to collect the following data: age, parity, history of the current pregnancy including gestational age at the interview, number of ANC visits already performed, date of first visit, use of malaria preventive measure and details on IPTp-SP administration.
During the study, 1030 women were interviewed, 735 at their ANC visit and 295 at the delivery. Their median age was 24[20–29] years and 21.0% were primigravidae. More than 70.0% attended their first ANC visit during the second trimester. Among the 442 women who were at the end of their pregnancy, 71.5% had a correct attendance, at least four ANC visits, most frequently women with no education and older women; IPTp-SP was offered to 84.1% of them and 57.4% received at least two doses. The number of SP doses was correlated to the number of ANC visits. Bed net coverage was 59.0%, not associated with ANC attendance. Among the women with correct ANC attendance, only 49.5% had a complete IPTp-SP course associated with bed net use during pregnancy. In the site where SP administration was supervised, 80% had four ANC visits and 97.4% received a full 2-dose course of IPTp-SP.
Despite a high level of correct ANC attendance in Gabon, the goal of 80% of women with 2-dose IPTp-SP during pregnancy is not achieved. Evaluations, training of health workers, as well as surveys from other areas of the country are needed to further measure the implementation and the impact of these strategies.
Obesity is increasing in the child-bearing population as are the rates of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is associated with higher rates of Cesarean Section for the mother and increased risks of macrosomia, higher body fat mass, respiratory distress and hypoglycemia for the infant. Prevention of gestational diabetes through life style intervention has proven to be difficult. A Finnish study showed that ingestion of specific probiotics altered the composition of the gut microbiome and thereby metabolism from early gestation and decreased rates of gestational diabetes in normal weight women. In SPRING (the Study of Probiotics IN the prevention of Gestational diabetes), the effectiveness of probiotics ingestion for the prevention of gestational diabetes will be assessed in overweight and obese women.
SPRING is a multi-center, prospective, double-blind randomized controlled trial run at two tertiary maternity hospitals in Brisbane, Australia. Five hundred and forty (540) women with a BMI > 25.0 kg/m2 will be recruited over 2 years and receive either probiotics or placebo capsules from 16 weeks gestation until delivery. The probiotics capsules contain > 1x109 cfu each of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 per capsule. The primary outcome is diagnosis of gestational diabetes at 28 weeks gestation. Secondary outcomes include rates of other pregnancy complications, gestational weight gain, mode of delivery, change in gut microbiome, preterm birth, macrosomia, and infant body composition. The trial has 80% power at a 5% 2-sided significance level to detect a >50% change in the rates of gestational diabetes in this high-risk group of pregnant women.
SPRING will show if probiotics can be used as an easily implementable method of preventing gestational diabetes in the high-risk group of overweight and obese pregnant women.
Evidence suggests that immigrant women having different ethnocultural backgrounds than those dominant in the host country have difficulty during their access to and reception of maternity care services, but little knowledge exists on how factors such as ethnic group and cultural beliefs intersect and influence health care access and outcomes. Amongst immigrant populations in Canada, refugee women are one of the most vulnerable groups and pregnant women with immediate needs for health care services may be at higher risk of health problems. This paper describes findings from the qualitative dimension of a mixed-methodological study.
A focused ethnographic approach was conducted in 2010 with Sudanese women living in an urban Canadian city. Focus group interviews were conducted to map out the experiences of these women in maternity care, particularly with respect to the challenges faced when attempting to use health care services.
Twelve women (mean age 36.6 yrs) having experience using maternity services in Canada within the past two years participated. The findings revealed that there are many beliefs that impact upon behaviours and perceptions during the perinatal period. Traditionally, the women mostly avoid anything that they believe could harm themselves or their babies. Pregnancy and delivery were strongly believed to be natural events without need for special attention or intervention. Furthermore, the sub-Saharan culture supports the dominance of the family by males and the ideology of patriarchy. Pregnancy and birth are events reflecting a certain empowerment for women, and the women tend to exert control in ways that may or may not be respected by their husbands. Individual choices are often made to foster self and outward-perceptions of managing one’s affairs with strength.
In today’s multicultural society there is a strong need to avert misunderstandings, and perhaps harm, through facilitating cultural awareness and competency of care rather than misinterpretations of resistance to care.
Canada; Sudanese; Beliefs; Culture; Focused ethnography; Maternity; Refugee; Pregnancy
Occurrence of birth defects (BD) remains an important public health issue. Inadequate knowledge about the defects among prospective mothers could result in delayed interventions. The study determined the knowledge of BD among pregnant women in relation to their socio-demographic profile.
Four hundred and forty-three (443) pregnant women gave their consent to participate in this study. A researcher-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on socio-demographic characteristics from the participants and their knowledge about BD. The questionnaire was assessed for test re-test reliability before been administered. The possible scores on the knowledge domain of the questionnaire were categorized into three levels: low knowledge (0–4), moderate knowledge (5–8) and high knowledge (9–12) levels. Data were analyzed using percentages while Spearman’s rank correlation was used to determine the relationship between the knowledge of BD among the participants and their socio-demographic profile. Alpha level was set at p < 0.05.
A greater proportion of the participants, 235(53.0%) were found in the age range 21 to 30 years, and 234(52.8%) attained secondary level of education. Majority of the participants, 205(46.3%) had high knowledge on the risk factors while 213(48.1%) and 224(50.6%) had moderate overall knowledge and specific knowledge about BD respectively. Most of the participants (48.1%) believed that BD were of supernatural origin. The age, level of education, number of antenatal visits and parity of the participants were not significantly correlated (p > 0.05) with their specific and overall knowledge.
Particpants generally had moderate knowledge about BD. However, this had no bearing on their socio-demographic profile. The knowledge base about BD seems to be influenced by traditional belief of the participants. This finding should therefore serve as a guide for health care providers while planning awareness campaign about BD.
Birth defects; Knowledge; Pregnant women; Antenatal clinics