Birth preparedness and place of birth in Tandahimba district, Tanzania: what women prepare for birth, where they go to deliver, and why.

Tancred, T; Marchant, T; Hanson, C; Schellenberg, J; Manzi, F; (2016) Birth preparedness and place of birth in Tandahimba district, Tanzania: what women prepare for birth, where they go to deliver, and why. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 16 (1). p. 165. ISSN 1471-2393 DOI:

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As making preparations for birth and health facility delivery are behaviours linked to positive maternal and newborn health outcomes, we aimed to describe what birth preparations were made, where women delivered, and why. Outcomes were tabulated using data derived from a repeated sample (continuous) quantitative household survey of women aged 13-49 who had given birth in the past year. Insights into why behaviours took place emerged from analysis of in-depth interviews (12) and birth narratives (36) with recently delivered mothers and male partners. Five hundred-twenty three women participated in the survey from April 2012-November 2013. Ninety-five percent (496/523) of women made any birth preparations for their last pregnancy. Commonly prepared birth items were cotton gauze (93 %), a plastic cover to deliver on (84 %), gloves (72 %), clean clothes (70 %), and money (42 %). Qualitative data suggest that preparation of items used directly during delivery was perceived as necessary to facilitate good care and prevent disease transmission. Sixty-eight percent of women gave birth at a health facility, 30 % at home, and 2 % on the way to a health facility. Qualitative data suggested that health facility delivery was viewed positively and that women were inclined to go to a health facility because of a perception of: increased education about delivery and birth preparedness; previous health facility delivery; and better availability and accessibility of facilities in recent years. Perceived barriers: were a lack of money; absent health facility staff or poor provider attitudes; women perceiving that they were unable to go to a health facility or arrange transport on their own; or a lack of support of pregnant women from their partners. The majority of women made at least some birth preparations and gave birth in a health facility. Functional items needed for birth seem to be given precedence over practices like saving money. As such, maintaining education about the importance of these practices, with an emphasis on emergency preparedness, would be valuable. Alongside education delivered as part of focussed antenatal care, community-based interventions that aim to increase engagement of men in birth preparedness, and support agency among women, are recommended.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
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PubMed ID: 27422526
Web of Science ID: 379781200002


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