A Home Birth

Nomawisa Khontyo, a Philani Mentor Mother, had been visiting an un-booked pregnant woman in her area for several months. An un-booked mother is a mother that has not been to see a health professional at a clinic about her pregnancy. Each time Nomawisa went to visit the mother-to-be she urged her to go to the clinic, explaining the importance of attending an antenatal clinic, pregnancy danger signs and signs of early labour, but sadly, the client never attended her clinic appointments.

On Sunday 1 June, a senior Mentor Mother living in the area, Ntembi Bushu, was called by her neighbours to come quickly to this mother’s home.  When Ntembi got to the house, the mother was lying in her bed in labour. Upon examining her, Ntembi saw the baby crowning and realised that it was not going to be long until the baby was born. She quickly ran back to her house to get gloves and assisted with the birth of the baby before calling the ambulance. Ntembi put the baby on her mother’s chest, using the techniques she had learnt around “kangaroo care”, and covered them both up while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Community members had called the local traditional healer to come and assist but Ntembi was worried that she may perform some practices that could harm the baby’s health so she stayed at the door and didn’t allow any of the neighbours in until the ambulance had arrived. Because the mother was not well prepared for the baby, she didn’t have any baby clothes or necessary items so Ntembi and Nomawisa quickly started collecting important items and donations for the new family.

They then visited the mother regularly throughout the next couple of days and weeks to make sure they were both doing well. They promoted exclusive breastfeeding, kangaroo care, the importance of cleaning the baby’s cord and the importance of condom usage during breastfeeding. The baby is currently growing very well with the mother exclusively breastfeeding and the mother is adjusting to motherhood. Ntembi and Nomawisa are now assisting her to obtain a birth certificate so that she can apply for a child support grant.