Humanised childbirth: the status of emotional support of women in rural Bangladesh

Janet Perkins, Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman, Shema Mhajabin, Abu Bakkar Siddique, Tapas Mazumder, Mohammad Rifat Haider, Shams El Arifeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The World Health Organization has recently set standards emphasising the importance of emotional support during birth for improving the quality of maternal and newborn healthcare in facilities. In this study, we explore the emotional support status of women during birth in rural Bangladesh. A cross-sectional household survey of 1367 women was administered in 2018 in Brahmanbaria district. Outcomes of interest included: presence of a companion of choice; mobility; intake of fluids and food; and position of choice. Associations between outcomes of interest and background characteristics were explored through binary and multiple logistic regressions. Approximately 68% women had a companion of choice during labour or childbirth, significantly higher among women giving birth at home (75%) than in a health facility. Nearly 60% women were allowed to eat and drink during labour, also significantly higher among women giving birth at home. Seventy-per cent women were allowed to be ambulatory during labour (46% in a facility vs. 85% at home). Only 27% women were offered or allowed to give birth in the position of their choice at facility, compared to 54% giving birth at home. Among women giving birth in a facility who did not have a companion of choice, 39% reported that the health provider/health facility management did not allow this. Ensuring emotional support and thereby improving the quality of the experience of care within health facilities should be prioritised by the Bangladesh government both to improve health outcomes of women and newborns and also to promote more humanised, positive childbirth experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1610277
JournalSexual and reproductive health matters
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2019


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