Poverty, partner discord, and divergent accounts; a mixed methods account of births before arrival to health facilities in Morogoro Region, Tanzania

Shannon A. McMahon, Rachel P. Chase, Peter J. Winch, Joy J. Chebet, Giulia V.R. Besana, Idda Mosha, Zaina Sheweji, Caitlin E. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Births before arrival (BBA) to health care facilities are associated with higher rates of perinatal morbidity and mortality compared to facility deliveries or planned home births. Research on such births has been conducted in several high-income countries, but there are almost no studies from low-income settings where a majority of maternal and newborn deaths occur. Methods: Drawing on a household survey of women and in-depth interviews with women and their partners, we examined the experience of BBA in rural districts of Morogoro Region, Tanzania. Results: Among survey respondents, 59 births (4 %) were classified as BBAs. Most of these births occurred in the presence of a family member (47 %) or traditional birth attendant (24 %). Low socioeconomic status was the strongest predictor of BBA. After controlling for wealth via matching, high parity and a low number of antenatal care (ANC) visits retained statistical significance. While these variables are useful indicators of which women are at greater risk of BBA, their predictive power is limited in a context where many women are poor, multiparous, and make multiple ANC visits. In qualitative interviews, stories of BBAs included themes of partner disagreement regarding when to depart for facilities and financial or logistical constraints that underpinned departure delays. Women described wanting to depart earlier to facilities than partners. Conclusion: As efforts continue to promote facility birth, we highlight the financial demands associated with facility delivery and the potential for these demands to place women at a heightened risk for BBAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number284
JournalBMC pregnancy and childbirth
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 27 2016

Keywords

  • Birth before arrival
  • Delivery
  • Maternal health
  • Newborn health
  • Poverty
  • Social class
  • Spouses
  • Tanzania

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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