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Original Research

Why are babies born before arrival at health facilities in King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa? A qualitative study

Adeyinka A. Alabi, Don O'Mahony, Graham Wright, Mohlomi J. Ntsaba

African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine; Vol 7, No 1 (2015), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v7i1.881

Submitted: 09 May 2015
Published:  09 November 2015


Introduction: Babies born before arrival at a health facility have a higher risk of neonatal death and their mothers a higher risk of maternal death compared with those born in-facility. The study explored the reasons for mothers giving birth before arrival (BBA) at health facilities and their experiences of BBA.

Methods: A qualitative research design was used. Individual and focus group interviews of BBA mothers and of nurses were undertaken at a community health centre and a district hospital in King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality.

Results: Reasons for BBA included a lack of transport, a lack of security at night that deterred mothers from travelling, precipitate labour, failure to identify true labour, and a lack of waiting areas at health facilities. Traditional and cultural beliefs favouring childbirth at homeand nurses’ negative attitudes during antenatal care and labour influenced mothers to go to health facilities when in advanced labour. Mothers were aware of possible complications associated with BBA.

Conclusion: Socio-economic, individual, cultural and health system factors influence the occurrence of BBA. Relevant parties need to address these factors to ensure that all babies in the King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality are delivered within designated health facilities.

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Author affiliations

Adeyinka A. Alabi, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
Don O'Mahony, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa
Graham Wright, School of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Mohlomi J. Ntsaba, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa



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ISSN: 2071-2928 (print) | ISSN: 2071-2936 (online)

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