Giving birth is considered a positive life event for many people across the world and in Ethiopia, people see it as a blessing. In this post I will be examining the event of birth. Birth Ethiopia is significantly different from the United States because nine of every ten women deliver at home. The process of birth is a natural event and many women prefer to give birth in their homes rather than in health facilities. About 85% of the population lives in rural areas and urban births are notably more likely than rural births to be delivered in a health facility (50 percent versus 4 percent). Delivery in a health facility is more common among births to mothers age 20-34, births to mothers who had at least four ANC visits, and births to highly educated mothers and mothers in the highest wealth quintiles (Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2011). A midwife, a woman who is a part of the mother’s community, helps deliver the baby and is accompanied and assisted by female family members and friends, mothers, and neighbors of their community who also have experience in childbirth (Duncan & Hayden 2008.) Traditional birth attendants’ role in assisting women during delivery has dwindled over the last decade (Kalasa 2012.) In 2000, 30.4% of the women were assisted by traditional birth attendants but has declined to 9% 2005. By 2011, TBAs assistance has declined more to 7.8%. During that period, deliver assistance from family, friends, and neighbors has increased from 63.4% to 79% (Kalasa 2012.) As Jordan describes, the authoritative knowledge in the labor room is held primarily by the physician. Throughout the labor process of the scenario, the woman was not able to push unless the doctor gave the official go-ahead (Jordan 1992) However, women in labor in Ethiopia tend to have experienced women around her pretending as if they were also in labor to encourage the woman in labor to push (Kitila et al. 2018). In Ethiopia this is not the case. Women are more comfortable with traditional birth attendants, mothers, friends and neighbors who all have birth experience and women have more control over their bodies during labor and delivery. With these special people around in their home, the woman giving birth and others apart of the delivery process are able to participate in rituals during labor and after delivery. Jordan also states the physician and medical student in the delivery room were male. In Ethiopia, men are not present during labor or involved in the delivery process (Duncan & Hayden 2008.) Despite recent improvements of skilled attendance, institutional delivery in Ethiopia remains low (Kalasa 2012.) During study performed by the Demographic E, women who did not deliver at a health facility were asked why. They concluded, 61% of women stated going to a health facility was not necessary, and 30% of women stated it was not customary (Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2011). 14% of women stated the health facility was either too far or that they did not have transportation. Rural woman were more likely than urban women to report that health facility deliveries are not customary, at 31 percent versus 17 percent, or that health facilities were too far or they had no transportation, at 15 percent versus 8 percent (Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2011). Birth in Ethiopia is unique due to women commonly and comfortably delivering at home surrounded by mothers, female friends, neighbors, and traditional birth attendants.
Central Statistical Agency [Ethiopia] and ICF International. 2012. Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2011. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Calverton, Maryland, USA: Central Statistical Agency and ICF International.
Duncan, A., & Hayden, M. (2008, September). Ethiopian Cultural Profile. Retrieved from https://ethnomed.org/culture/ethiopian/copy_of_ethiopian-cultural-profile
Jordan, B. (1992). Technology and social interaction: notes on the achievement of authoritative knowledge in complex settings. Institute for Research on Learning. IRL92-0027.
Kalasa, B. Trends in Maternal Health in Ethiopia. UNFPA. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.itacaddis.org/docs/2013_09_24_09_12_46_UNFPA%20DHS%20In-depth%20Analysis%20on%20Maternal%20Mortality%202012.pdf
Kitila, S., Molla, W., Wedaynewu, T., Yadessa, T., & Gellan, M. (2018). Folk Practice During Childbirth and Reasons for the Practice in Ethiopia: A Systematic Review. Gynecology & Obstetrics, 08(03), 1-5https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/folkpracticeduring-childbirth-and-reasons-for-the-practice-in-ethiopia-asystematic-review-2161-0932-1000465.pdf. doi: 10.4172/2161-0932.1000465