oa Curationis - Comparison between indigenous and Western postnatal care practices in Mopani District, Limpopo Province, South Africa : original research
Background: Postnatal care begins immediately after the expulsion of the placenta and continues for six to eight weeks post-delivery. High standard of care is required during the postnatal period because mothers and babies are at risk and vulnerable to complications related to postpartum haemorrhage and infections. Midwives and traditional birth attendants are responsible for the provision of postnatal care in different settings, such as clinics and hospitals, and homes.
Methods: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research approach was followed in this study. Unstructured interviews were conducted with the traditional birth attendants. An integrated literature review was conducted to identify the Western postnatal care practices. Tesch's process was followed during data analysis.
Findings: The following main categories were identified: similarities between indigenous and Western postnatal care practices, and differences between indigenous and Western postnatal care practices. Based on these findings, training of midwives and traditional birth attendants was recommended in order to empower them with knowledge and skills regarding the indigenous and Western postnatal care practices.
Conclusions: It is evident that some indigenous postnatal care practices have adverse effects on the health of postnatal women and their newborn infants, but these are unknown to the traditional birth attendants. The employment of indigenous postnatal care practices by the traditional birth attendants is also influenced by their cultural beliefs, norms, values and attitudes. Therefore, there is an urgent need to train midwives and traditional birth attendants regarding the indigenous and Western postnatal care to improve the health of postnatal women and their babies.
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