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Why childbirth requires adequate preparation

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Why childbirth requires adequate preparation

A mother shows a mama kit package. Expectant mothers are advised to have kits with them at all times especially when they are in the last trimester of their pregnancy. The kits can be used as first aid in case the expectant mother experiences premature labour. File Photo. 

By Albert Tumwine

Posted  Monday, December 9  2013 at  00:00

In Summary

Childbirth is an exciting experience for many mothers. But it can also turn into misery, especially if a mother does not make adequate preparations to receive the new member of the family. That is why health experts say expectant mothers should start preparing as soon as they discover that they are pregnant. Here are few tips on what you can do.


Just like you need to plan for a journey or meeting, so do you for the birth of a baby. You probably have heard of tales of mothers who have delivered on the way to a health facility, or on arrival, while some mothers die because they failed to raise money for a caesarean section as a result of a complication that occurred during labour. Some of these constraints can be avoided with early and appropriate preparations.

According to Naomi Alobo Elimu, the in-charge of the labour suite at Mulago National Referral Hospital, childbirth preparation should start at the time of conception or even earlier.

“When you confirm that you are pregnant, you should start preparing for the coming baby. You should start planning financially and in terms of material items that you will need when the actual time of birth arrives,” Elimu explains.

She adds: “Even if you do not earn a monthly salary, you can save any little money that you have and start buying the required items.”

That is why it is recommended that an expectant mother should attend at least four antenatal visits where mothers can be educated on various pregnancy-related issues including diet, healthy living and how to take care of the incoming baby.

“First time mothers, especially those who are short may have a small pelvis, and this could hinder the birth of the baby. It is important for them to come early to a health facility so that any complications can be detected and addressed on time,” Elimu says.

Ruth Mukundane, a 23-year-old mother of one did not wait for the last days of her pregnancy to prepare. “The moment I confirmed that I was pregnant, I started saving money and buying clothes for my baby. I also never missed any antenatal visit,” says Mukundane.

When the labour starts…
In some cases, first time expectant mothers do not know how labour pains feel like, it is, therefore, important to keep in close contact with the health care providers.

“Regular visits to the hospital helped me because I quickly noticed the labour pains and went to hospital as soon as I could. I arrived at the hospital on a Friday afternoon and on Sunday morning I had my baby,” Mukundane remembers.

She adds: “I had the mama kit and that is all the midwife asked for. She had told me about it during the various antenatal visits.”

Elimu says an expectant mother also needs pocket money. “It is not only the birth materials needed, you need some money to buy food and drinks and any emergencies,” explains Elimu.

Mukundane says for instance, she had to buy her own stiches since the health facility had run out of them.

An early preparation also makes it easy for a mother to get help from the public in case labour starts earlier, or before they reach a health facility.

Dr David Ebalu of Community Laboratory and Clinic in Namuwongo, a Kampala suburb says if an expectant mother has a kit, it is easier to administer help in case she starts bleeding before birth.

The mama kit contains essential items such as gloves, razor blades, cotton wool and polythene sheets for the delivery. Elimu says some cultural beliefs make women delay going to the hospital even when the labour pains begin. She says this can be risky especially if the mother experiences complications as a result of prolonged labour.

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