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Cultural beliefs and practices of women influencing home births in rural Northern Ghana

Authors Adatara P, Strumpher J, Ricks E, Mwini-Nyaledzigbor PP

Received 18 October 2018

Accepted for publication 1 February 2019

Published 4 June 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 353—361

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S190402

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer


Peter Adatara,1 Johanita Strumpher,2 Esmeralda Ricks,2 Prudence Portia Mwini-Nyaledzigbor1

1Department of Nursing, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana; 2Department of Nursing, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Background: One of the maternal health care strategies identified by the World Health Organization as being crucial for saving lives of pregnant women, which also serves as an indicator for progress in reducing maternal mortality, is the provision and utilization of skilled birth care. Despite the importance of skilled birth care in preventing maternal morbidity and mortality, many women continue to give birth at home without the assistance of skilled birth attendants in rural communities of Ghana.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the cultural beliefs that potentially influenced the choice of home births among rural women in Ghana.
Methods: A qualitative approach was utilized to conduct this study. Twenty participants who delivered at home were purposefully selected and interviewed individually. Semistructured interviews were used to explore the cultural belief patterns that potentially influenced the choice of home births among women in rural Ghana. Thematic analysis approach was used to analyze the data.
Results: Four major themes emerging from the data analysis which influenced rural women’s decision to give birth at home are namely: opportunity to access psychological support through family members, opportunity to access culturally acceptable food, opportunity to adopt a birthing position of choice, and opportunity for safe and culturally accepted disposal of placenta.
Conclusion: This study concluded that the cultural beliefs held by these women greatly affected their decision to deliver at home. Hence, there is a need for health care managers to facilitate collaborative practices between the skilled birth attendants and traditional birth attendants. This is because this approach could enhance the integration of the cultural beliefs and practices of women in the orthodox health care delivery system to facilitate the utilization of skilled birth care.

Keywords: cultural beliefs, perceptions, laboring women, home birth care, skilled birth attendants


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