“BABY DELIVERY: Nigerian women Need More Choices” – Irene Adeniyi

The first thing I noticed here in Nigeria is that women are not given many choices for the delivery of their babies. This gives me cause for worry. There are many ways to deliver a baby and a woman needs to know this in order to make an informed choice for a happier, safer and enjoyable experience.

Generally, there are four choices in baby delivery: choice of place of birth, choice of antenatal care, choice of type of delivery and choice of paediatric personnel. For example, you could state that you want to deliver at home and not the hospital, or have the doctor come home to examine you instead of stressing yourself to go to the hospital or select the paediatrician you want to touch you and your baby. It is all about the woman and her baby and it should be perfectly normal for the person involved to have her say and her way, under normal circumstances.

In UK, women have choices of where to access health care. Apart from the hospital, there are back centres. If a woman doesn't want to have her baby at home, she could opt to have her baby at a "Back Centre"  (also known as "Stand Alone" centre). Back Centres are attached to hospitals. If a woman is in labour, and she is in one of the back centres, as far as everything is okay and provided this woman is being monitored regularly according to laid down guidelines and protocols, she is free to deliver her baby there. With this option, hospitals are not congested and facilities are not overstretched.

Home Delivery Versus Hospital Delivery

Some people are saying that home birth is dangerous but studies have proven otherwise. In a birth study by Prof. Chamberlain, it is discovered that there is no difference between the two in terms of risks. The hospital environment could be created at home too. In home delivery, there is no danger; it's like having your baby in the hospital. Everything is provided. But there must be an agreement between the midwife and the woman on terms and conditions that border on providing safety measures.

Where there is any anomaly, the woman would have to be transferred to the hospital. Women themselves are not stupid; they're very sensible, really. We have discovered that professional women desire to have their babies at home - doctors, lawyers, bankers, lecturers and others. With home and back centre options, all baby delivery roads should not always lead to hospitals.

Baby Delivery Options

Whether at home, back centres or hospitals, a woman could decide how she wants her baby brought into the world. There are choices such as water birth, dry birth (normal delivery) and all-fours birth. In Nigeria, women still deliver babies whilst lying down on their back. No. This old method is more stressful and painful compared to the option of water birth.

Water birth is a wonderful innovation that is possible in the hospital, back centres and at home. In this case, what the woman needs to do is to either buy of hire a birthing pool.

Water birth is a method of giving birth which involves immersion in warm water. The immersion can mean giving birth to the infant in the water or using it as a tool during the labour process. This method is safe and provides many benefits for both mother and baby, including no need for episiotomy, pain relief and a less traumatic birth experience for the baby.

The woman will go into the water and choose the position that is okay for her, you don't tell her what to do. The midwife listens to the pulse of the baby whilst ensuring that the woman is as comfortable as possible and the temperature of the water not more than 37.5 degree. The room temperature must not be less than 21 degrees which all babies can cope with.

In this situation, allow her to talk but if she is quiet, permit her. When the baby is coming, she will give you a sign but don't do anything. When the baby comes out from the mother's womb, you allow him/her in the warm water for some minutes before bringing him/her out and straight to the mother's breast for feeding.

Mrs. Irene Shade Adeniyi is a UK-based Nigerian professional Midwife of 20 years experience.


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